REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA) — Security video shows a dog being stolen from the front of a trendy restaurant in Redondo Beach — in broad daylight Tuesday morning.
CBS2’s Tom Wait spoke with Suzie Solomon, the victim, as well as the owner of the Rockefeller restaurant — Chris Bredesen — who posted the video.
Bottom line, the victim didn’t think this story would have a happy ending.
But thanks to some observant Good Samaritans the stolen dog has been reunited with his family.
The video shows a woman walking into the restaurant carrying her baby and the dog leashed on a stroller outside.
As the woman continues to walk into the restaurant and out of frame, a man in a red shirt approaches the stroller. And then you see him untie the dog and walk off.
“You could see it in his eyes in the video,” says Bredesen, “he’s gonna do this.”
Bredesen was just feet away getting coffee.
“Crushed. Absolutely crushed and in a panicked state,” he says. He knew he had to help.
Chris posted the video online and within hours, tens of thousands of people viewed it and started looking for the dog. Miraculously, someone saw the man in the red shirt about two miles away and the Good Samaritans rushed the man — and rescued the pup.
“We were just screaming we were so excited,” said Solomon about the return of her pooch, Poncho.
Solomon said she and her family were stunned so many people made this unlikely reunion happen.
“We drove around for three hours and it was looking bad,” she said.
A happy ending. As for the guy who stole their Poncho, Suzie and her husband are not angry with him.
“I think that he was mentally ill,” says Matt Solomon, “We certainly felt for him, but we wanted our dog back for our children.”
The suspect is still at large.
Suzie told Wait that she encountered the man who stole her dog, a transient, before she went into the restaurant and she offered to buy him breakfast — moments before he ran off with her dog.
Poncho is no stranger to being rescued: the Solomons told Wait they got him from a shelter not long ago.