Nayo Mateo says his 10-year-old yellow Labrador, Maru, was last seen inside the family's Honda Odyssey when the vehicle was stolen Saturday near Whitsett Avenue and Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.
The owner says he left the vehicle for a minute with the AC running to get his wife and 2-year-old daughter from inside a store. That's when someone jumped into the van and took off with the dog in the back seat.
The family contacted police and searched for their car and dog for hours Sunday to no avail. They also posted fliers and visited several shelters.
The Los Angeles Police Department said it received a tip about the case around 5 p.m. Monday. A person reported seeing the stolen minivan parked in the parking lot of Weddington Golf and Tennis in the 4100 block of Whitsett Ave in Studio City.
When officers arrived, they found the dog inside the car. The windows were rolled up, and the dog had died, most likely due to the heat. There was no information on the suspect.
The family says Maru was a sweet and quiet dog. Mateo says her constant companion, his 2-year-old daughter Lucy, won't stop asking where Maru is.
Anyone with information about the case was asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department.