Family reunites with stolen puppy after police track down dognappers

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It’s always heartbreaking when a dog goes missing, but if you’re lucky you’ll have the support of your community to help search for them.

That was the case for one family, who was left devastated after their black lab puppy was stolen from their home. But after a three day search, the little dog is back home safe and sound.

The Nissenbaum family of Wellesley, Massachusetts are the owners of an eight-month-old black lab puppy named Ember. They told the Boston Globe that the dog is famous around their town, recognized and loved by all the neighbors.

But the family became very concerned when their dog disappeared from their home. Ember had been tethered outside their home to dry off after a swim, and was suddenly gone without a trace.

The family became concerned as it was unusual for Ember to run off like that: “She doesn’t ever get out,” mom Illana Nissenbaum told the Boston Globe. “The only way that she gets loose is when she runs out the door.”

“We were heartbroken and we just wanted to know that she was OK,” Illana told CBS Boston.

Officers from the Wellesley Police Department investigated the case… and came to the conclusion that the dog had been kidnapped.

“Given that the leash was gone, and the clasp for the dog that was tied up in front of the house was still intact, [officers] determined the dog was taken,” said Wellesley Police Chief Jack Pilecki.

While a stolen dog is a very worrying situation, the family was also relieved that the police were taking their case seriously.

“They were just so calm and reassuring and kept our hope up,” Illana said. “We just felt really in good hands.”

“They didn’t think we were crazy when we thought that the dog was stolen,” Illana’s husband Neil Nissenbaum told WCVB. “They agreed with us that it just didn’t seem right.”

Wellesley Police Department

They began a frantic search to bring Ember home, putting signs up all over the neighborhood. They were heartened to see that many of their neighbors, who also loved the dog, were eager to help.

“Everybody stepped up,” Neil told the Boston Globe. “I think my wife told me that in the morning the mailman, the UPS driver, and the police were all looking for Ember.”

After three days of searching, Wellesley police had a break in the case. According to WCVB, they used security footage from neighbors to identify a vehicle seen circling around the neighborhood at the time of the dognapping.

They traced the license plate to a resident in Framingham, and after surveilling the suspect’s home, they spotted them taking a dog outside — it was Ember.

They arrested the suspects and retrieved the puppy, finally reuniting Ember with her family:

“I was, like, really happy. We were screaming. All my friends were screaming,” said Talia Nissenbaum, Neil and Illana’s 13-year-old daughter, told WCVB.

Police arrested 40-year-old Manuel Sierra, and summonsed a 32-year-old woman to court, both of whom are now facing charges of receiving stolen property over $12,00 and conspiracy, according to WCVB.

Police say the suspects claimed they had been coming home from the hospital and spotted the dog, and took her thinking she would “help them feel better,” a claim police doubt, according to the Boston Globe.

But the family isn’t too concerned about what will happen to the alleged dognappers — right now, they’re just happy to have their dog back.

“We’re just happy to have Ember back. We’re not focusing on those who took Ember,” Illana said, according to the Wellesley Report. “She’s part of our family. Like she was born into our family.”

“Ember is guilty of being too cute,” her 9-year-old brother Aaron added.

We’re so glad Ember has been found safe, and is finally home with her loving family! Thanks to the Wellesley police and everyone who helped in the search!

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