ALAMEDA (BCN) – A woman who had her Yorkshire terrier stolen during a purse snatch in Alameda nearly two weeks ago said today that she “is on top of the world” after police returned the dog Wednesday evening.

The 6-year-old male purebred named “Deuce” was stolen at about 2 p.m. on Oct. 30 when two men approached 80-year-old Helen Bignone as she was walking near Encinal Avenue and Fountain Street, Alameda police Lt. Sean Lynch said.

Christopher Perkins, 19, was arrested on Nov. 4. Perkins initially said he sold the dog to someone in the Stockton area, but later changed his story, saying he released or gave away the dog in the area of Holiday Park in Stockton on the evening of Nov. 2, Lynch said.

Alameda police and authorities in Stockton worked with media to get out the word about the missing dog, and received several phone tips about canines resembling Deuce. In each case, the tips proved fruitless.

Finally, on Wednesday, another phone tip was received from a 24-year-old Stockton resident who saw a news report about Deuce. The tipster reported purchasing a dog matching Deuce’s description for $20 from a man and woman on a street in Stockton, Lynch said.

Alameda police detectives and Stockton animal control services officials scanned the dog and verified, via microchip, that the animal was Deuce.

Bignone said she had a feeling Deuce might have been recovered when investigators called her to ask for the microchip number.

“When they called me I felt very assured, and that it was just a matter of time” before the dog would be returned, she said.

Officers told Bignone that as Deuce was driven back to Alameda, he recognized the High Street Bridge near Bignone’s home and became animated, she said.

“He’s not just a cute dog, but a smart dog too,” Bignone said.

Deuce was initially purchased by Bignone’s granddaughter, whom she raised, and the dog grew up in Bignone’s home. The granddaughter eventually moved to an apartment complex that didn’t allow dogs, so Bignone inherited him.

She said Deuce is exhausted from his ordeal.

“He slept through the night, where usually he gets up and goes outside,” she said. “He went outside this morning, then came back to bed and slept some more.”

Bignone thanked the police for finding and returning the pooch.

“They were splendid,” she said. “They worked so hard on this case, I can’t thank them enough.”

Lynch said the officers were happy with the result too.

“It was a very rewarding moment,” he said. “We’re happy to have a good solid, successful resolution to this case. That doesn’t happen with a lot of street robberies.”

Along with Perkins, police have identified a person of interest as a possible accomplice. Lynch could not provide any additional information about that suspect, except that the person was also wanted for a parole violation connected to criminal charges unrelated to the robbery.

Investigators do not believe the man and woman who sold the dog have any connection to the suspects, and may have just found it when it was released in the park in Stockton.

“If those people knew there was a reward for the dog,” in excess
of $5,000, “they wouldn’t have sold it for $20 on the street,” Lynch said.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

Comments (9)
  1. Tom says:

    How rare to have a story with a happy ending in the news! It is also rare to have a story followed up and tell you what happened.

    1. James smith says:

      aside from all the working hours the police put into this case, yes inded it was a great success to recover a dog, let us all thank our tax payers for that, oh yeah lets take more money from our schools and from our fire departments and lets damp it, in to this fruitless cases.

      1. James Smith's mom says:

        James – you are a knucklehead!

  2. NW says:

    So James, know much about how tax dollars are allocated? We can’t take money from the police agencies and put them toward the schools. While the politics of it all may seem sketchy at best, and believe me they are, it doesn’t exactly work like that. The media is what made this case such a big deal. Police agencies often ask for the public’s assistance, hence all the hot lines. It’s sad to me that anyone can be more concerned with that aspect of it or consider it fruitless. An 80 year-old woman was robbed in the middle of the day and THAT is horrible. Maybe if this was YOUR 80 year-old grandmother it would have seemed like a big deal. Have a little compassion. It is precisely this sort of cold attitude that makes this world such a sad place anymore… and yet another reason why animals are so much easier to like than humans. I was thrilled to learn that this dog and his owner have been reunited.

  3. C.A says:

    James you are an IDIOT! So you would rather tax dollars be spent on welfare abusers, disability abusers , criminals etc than on a “fruitless” crime? Are you serious?? I agree you are the kind of person that makes this world so negative and cold! I would rather see “Fruitless crimes” than deal with the sensless murders, rapes, robberies of innocnet peiople! You are so ignorant!

  4. C.A says:

    BTW Good thing we have a majority of people out there that think the opposite of you James! They are the ones that brought this story to the fore front and gathered up the reward money.NOT THE TAX PAYERS YOU CHEAP ASS!.
    You are obviously not a pet owner or a father because if you were you wouldn’t have made such a stupid unsympathetic comment like that!

  5. elaine says:

    I’m so grateful for a happy story in the news for once! Thank you!! So glad the sweet doggy and owner were reunited. I know the heartbreak of being separated. Such a great story.

  6. KMck says:

    Umm… on disability, have applied for Medi-Cal. So, since I am of no use to anyone, and just a rotting pile of wasted tax dollars, should I let somebody steal my dog or my cat?
    The Schools: I half homeschooled my daughter because the schools bored her silly. She did finish college and has a promising career. Having been a good responsible citizen thus far, do I get any Brownie points, or is it just how I am at this moment in time that I will be judged?

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