Dogs & Laws

Caught on Camera: Florida Lyft Driver Steals Puppy

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A St. Petersburg, Florida man is desperate to get his puppy back after a neighbor’s surveillance cameras captured a Lyft driver allegedly stealing the 9-month old dog.

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Surveillance video captured the moment a St. Petersburg, Florida man believes his puppy was stolen by a Lyft driver. Now, he’s desperately hoping someone will recognize the dog or the vehicle and help reunite him with his best friend.

Jason Gell’s let his 9-month old Rottweiler, Mahi, into the backyard around 12:30am Saturday morning, not realizing the side gate had been left open. Unfortunately, Mahi was not wearing his collar, as his tags had just been moved to a new harness only a day earlier.

A short time later, Gell realized that Mahi was gone.

Gell thought Mahi was simply lost, but a neighbor’s Ring security camera footage revealed that he’d actually been taken only about 45 minutes after going outside.

Gell told ABC Action News, “there’s 20 minutes on video of him prancing around, doing his thing,” before the camera captured Mahi chasing after a car. The car stopped, a man exited the vehicle and coaxed Mahi into the backseat before driving off.

Gell says this doesn’t look like someone rescuing a lost animal. “If he was going to do something, I mean, I would have expected some contact to have been made to somebody, and that’s not just the case,” he said. Instead, Gell believes this was a crime of opportunity when the driver saw the purebred Rottweiler.

Gell has since spoke with a woman who said she had been dropped off by a Lyft driver in the same area, just minutes before Mahi was picked up. He reached out to Lyft hoping they can provide answers, but claims that so far, they’re refusing to help.

“That’s the most frustrating part right now. All these guys are GPS’ed. There’s no doubt about it that Lyft can tell me exactly who was in here at that time, and they refuse to do it,” says Gell.

Gell has contacted police who are investigating the theft. Lyft gave the following statement to news outlets: “The incident described by the dog’s owners is unacceptable. We’ve reached out to the owner and stand ready to assist law enforcement.”

Gell simply wants his dog back.

“Just drop it at a neighbor’s house, drop it off at a shelter,” said Gell.”I just want him back. I’m not looking for vengeance. I just want him back. Do not hurt him.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact St. Petersburg Police or reach out to him via Facebook.

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