The suspect, who was later identified as Daniel Fis, was arrested around 7:45 p.m. after he was spotted by the dog's owner.
"My wife and I were driving on Whitsett Avenue when I saw the guy and I called 911," said Nayo Mateo.
Fis was arrested at Weddington Golf and Tennis in Studio City, the same place where the stolen minivan was found on Monday. Employees there say the suspect came to the front desk that day and told them he needed his van towed."He had come back to the counter and he says, 'Oh, I forgot to tell you, there's a dog in the van.' And I'm thinking, who would leave their dog in the van?" said Jan Gray of Weddington Golf and Tennis.
Gray says she called police immediately, and the stolen van with the dead dog inside was discovered in the parking lot. The windows of the van were rolled up. Officials said the dog died of heat exhaustion. Fis left the scene, but was captured on surveillance cameras.
The family's Honda Odyssey was stolen at Whitsett Avenue and Ventura Boulevard in front of a clothing store last Saturday. Mateo said he left the air conditioner running for the dog while he went into the store to get his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
Mateo says while nothing will bring back the family's beloved 10-year-old yellow Labrador, the arrest will help his family move forward.