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Golden retriever 'dog-napped' in North Van rescued and returned

A six-year-old pooch named Amber was pinched from outside Shoppers Drug Mart, say police. She was found and returned to her owner a few hours later
Amber, a six-year-old golden retriever, was rescued by police on Monday after being taken from outside a store in North Vancouver.

A six-year-old golden retriever police said was ‘dog-napped’ by a stranger Monday in North Vancouver has been rescued and safely returned to her owner.

The purloined pooch, named Amber, went missing at about 1:30 p.m. from in front of the Shoppers Drug Mart at the intersection of Londsale Avenue and East 13th Street, while the owner briefly went inside on a errand, said Const. Mansoor Sahak of the North Vancouver RCMP.

Sahak said the distraught North Vancouver owner called the police after being unable to find her dog when she came out of the store.

Surveillance camera video from a nearby construction site on 13th Street captured the pooch being walked away from the area on a leash by a man.

Sahak said the owner doesn’t know the man who took her pet, calling the situation very unusual.

Police released an image from the security video Monday afternoon showing a man with dark hair wearing a light blue jacket or hoodie and bright red pants carrying what looks like a blanket and pulling a suitcase or carrying case while walking the dog beside him on a leash. 

Police asked the public to contact them with information, and news of the dog's disappearance quickly spread on social media.

Within minutes of the request, North Vancouver RCMP received a flood of calls of possible sightings of Amber and the suspect on a Seabus heading toward Vancouver. Metro Vancouver Transit Police were advised of the sighting and just before 4:30 p.m., Transit officers located the suspect and Amber at the Waterfront Skytrain station.

The suspect was safely taken into custody and Amber was returned to her owner a short time later.

The suspect, a Vancouver man in his 40s, is facing possible charges of theft under $5,000. He has been released on conditions, said Sahak.

Sahak said police don’t know what the man’s motive was for taking the dog, adding the incident is still under investigation.