Stolen Hemet puppy found, woman arrested for theft

HEMET, Calif. (KABC) -- Police have recovered a 3-month-old puppy stolen in Hemet and arrested the woman accused of the theft.

Police say when officers identified their suspect and knocked on her door, the stolen puppy ran up behind her as she answered.

The suspect was identified as Chanel Groffo, 21, of Hemet. She was arrested for felony theft of a dog with bail set at $10,000.

The woman was seen on video with a young child walking into A.R.E. Animal Rescue on Florida Avenue and State Street on Wednesday.

Footage shows the woman quickly walking out of the store with the dog in her arms after she picked it up out of a crate that was sitting on a table.

The puppy, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Kai, was there to be neutered and had only been out of surgery for about an hour when the theft occurred.

Amber Schlieder, owner of the rescue, reflected on the horrible phone call she had to make to tell the owner that their pet had been stolen.

"It was honestly the most horrible phone call I've ever had to make. To call her and say that somebody had just stolen this baby, just right out from under us," she said.

Investigators say the woman told someone inside the store that she was there to look for a kitten.

Before hearing the good news, the puppy's family said they were heartbroken by the theft.

"We're upset... We really just want our little guy back," said Alec Lay, the dog owner's son.

They had gone out posting fliers and signs in the area in the hopes of finding him.

Kai has been returned to his family.
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