A Mesa veteran's best friend is missing, and he badly wants to find him.
Max, a purebred miniature schnauzer who will turn 3 on Tuesday, was inside Bill Lorimer's red 2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV that was stolen by two people from the parking lot of the Valero gasoline station on the corner of South Ellsworth and Broadway roads early April 10.
Lorimer, 72, and a U.S. Navy Veteran and retired plumber, said he stopped at the station to get a cup of coffee and left the key in the ignition with the car running. He said he had his "clicker" in his hand and locked the doors, but didn't realize the driver side door did not lock with the engine running.
"When I came back out of the store, my car was gone and two kids sitting in a car next to where mine was in the parking lot said two people jumped inside my car and took off," Lorimer said.
Lorimer recovered the vehicle about four hours later, but Max was not inside of it.
In fact, one of the people who stole the car, who told Lorimer they found his contact information in its glove box, called him from a blocked phone number and told him his car was out of gas and where to find it - on Country Club Drive in west Mesa.
Lorimer, who informed the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office about the crime, said the person on the phone also told him they let the dog out of the car at an apartment complex near 96th Street and Crismon Road.
"I told them I didn't give a damn about my car. I just wanted my dog back," Lorimer said. "I can replace my car, but not my dog. I'm devastated. It's driving me nuts. I can't sleep."
Lorimer, who has congestive heart failure, said he was looking for Max until 1:30 a.m. Friday, and had looked around the apartment complex where the person on the phone said they let the dog out of the car.
Max is a salt-and-pepper colored dog with a long beard and cropped ears, wearing a red collar with his tags. Lorimer described Max as a timid dog, who won't go up to people.
"I've had him since he was three and a half months old," Lorimer said. "I hope I get him back. I'm stressed out about the whole thing. He's my buddy."
If anyone sees the dog, they can call the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at (602) 876-1000 or Lorimer at (480) 354-2344.