The dog snatchers took 11-year-old Walter from his home Thursday night and called the phone number on his collar to extort money from his owner, Tricia O'Kelley.
"He said, 'What is the dog worth to you?'" O'Kelley said.
She offered him $500, but she says he replied, "That dog is worth a lot more than that." During the phone call, O'Kelley said she heard a second male laughing in the background. The call came from a blocked number.
O'Kelley and her husband agreed to meet up the thieves at a gas station for the handoff. The couple had arranged to have an undercover police officer there, but when a uniformed police officer unrelated to the case happened to show up, the thieves pulled back from the trade-off.
The couple says Walter was dumped Saturday evening near Los Feliz Boulevard. A good Samaritan picked him up and returned him. That good Samaritan says the dog was dropped off by two men driving a white sports car.
Walter seems to be OK.