RICHMOND (WRIC)—A pet-napper is on the loose in the Battery Park area of Richmond, and neighbors are keeping their pets on a tight leash.
Leroy Zimmerman has two dogs, Bebe and Bugsy. He's been keeping a close eye on them since he heard that two cats were taken from his neighbor's front porch.
"It's very, very disheartening to see … a pet being taken," Zimmerman said. "It's like a kidnapping."
Police are now investigating. A post showed up on the Battery Park Civic Association's Facebook page warning people to be on the lookout for someone stealing pets. Police say the suspect is described as an older woman driving a maroon station wagon. She was last seen wearing a gray coat and gray hat.
"I kind of watch them now … normally I would let them run free, but now I make sure that they're doing what they need to do," Zimmerman said. "Now, I check on them and make sure they're not out there too long."
Emily Smith, who lives in the neighborhood said, "My dogs, we walk them, or they're in the backyard quickly, so they're not loose. But I'm certainly aware of it, and certainly on the lookout, and I'm worried for all of my neighbors with their pets, too."
There was also a report online of a dog being taken in the same neighborhood. Police say so far they haven't been contacted about that. But the pet owners ABC 8 News spoke with say they'll be extra careful with their furry friends.
"Everyone has cats and dogs," Smith said. "The cats run around and everyone's dogs are out on the porch, so it's definitely a pet-friendly neighborhood."
"If something happens to this dog, I don't know what would go on in this family," Zimmerman said. "Folks are very, very passionate about their pets, just like they're part of the family."
Anyone with information about the recent pet thefts is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Metro Richmond at 804-780-1000.
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