Scottsdale police took a bite out of a rash of recent dog thefts by arresting a man and woman believed responsible for stealing a puppy from the Just Pets pet shop in Wilshire Plaza.
Jason Mack, 23, and Jessica Lett, 22, both of Scottsdale, were each arrested Tuesday on suspicion of theft, according to police. Mack also was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting, and Lett was arrested on suspicion of false reporting.
Lett initially told police she wasn’t with Mack when he stole a Shiba Inu, a breed popular in Japan, from the store at 2525 N. Scottsdale Road, police said.
The arrests stemmed from the theft about 7 p.m. Feb. 1, when Mack was caught on surveillance video running out of the store with the dog before driving away in a maroon Chevrolet Monte Carlo, according to police.
The puppy, valued at $2,000, later was returned unharmed to the shop about 8:50 p.m. Friday by a man who claimed to be Mack’s roommate.
Police also traced the car to Mack from license plates seen on the surveillance video.
Jennifer Carter, director of sales for Just Pets and the daughter of the shop’s owner, said Wednesday she was relieved with the arrests.
“Hopefully this will set an example, and the police will step in to take care of it,” she said.
Police determined the man who returned the dog to the store was not involved in the theft.
Carter told the Tribune on Friday that Just Pets has had five dogs stolen in three thefts this year.
In mid-January, pet shop workers discovered that a miniature schnauzer died when it was stabbed by an ice pick a burglar used it to penetrate a plastic window of a kennel.
Overall, the shop has fallen victim to more than a dozen burglaries in the last three years, Carter said.
At least 12 dogs have been stolen from Just Pets, she said. The animals are mostly exotic and expensive breeds, and the thefts caused several thousands of dollars in loss and damage, she said.
The family is considering relocating the shop, Carter said.