Teen accused of trying to steal puppy

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. – A would-be puppy napper nearly made off with a 2-month-old pit bull Thursday morning in National City.

The dog’s owner, who lives in Oceanside, told police she placed an online ad to sell the puppy for $200. She set up to meet a buyer outside the Halloween tent in the Westfield Plaza Bonita parking lot. When she arrived, she was met by a teenage girl.

“As the suspect was looking at the dog and petting the dog, decided to turn and run off with the dog, in essence stealing the dog," said Sgt. Chris Sullivan of National City Police Department.

The owner called police as the girl tried to get away on a bike path along the river bottom.

“Officers had been able to track her based on the movements from where she started and apprehended her. The dog was recovered and returned to the owner. The suspect was taken into custody," Sullivan said.

The owner declined to talk on camera but was clearly relieved to have her dog back.

Meanwhile, police say this kind of crime happens too easily when people don’t take enough precaution with online ads.

“If you’re taking something on the Internet, don’t know what’s on the other side of the screen," Sullivan said. "You always have to protect yourself in any way that you can...Make sure you go to a place that is well lit, usually has other people around, maybe bring somebody with you. And if it doesn’t feel right, don’t go.

Police say the unnamed juvenile was later released but will face theft charges.