By John Ramos

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — A family is desperately searching for a beloved pet stolen on a San Francisco street while security cameras were rolling.

San Francisco’s Japantown is generally considered to be a pretty safe place. Still, people sleep with steel bars on their windows and have security cameras. On the streets, there are signs warning drivers parking their cars to keep valuables out of sight. But Saturday night, in front of the Nijiya Market, Jenny Seta, lost what was most valuable to her because she simply couldn’t imagine anyone would want to steal it.

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“Lily is really more than a dog,” she said. “She’s been the greatest emotional support through a really difficult time.”

Lily is a 6-year-old golden retriever that Jenny raised from a puppy. She tied the dog to a post in front of a market while she ducked inside. Surveillance video shows a man in jeans and a brown sport coat with a red backpack looking closely at Lily. As other customers walk past, he calmly unties the dog’s leash and walks away with her.

Photo: SFPD

“Really heartbreaking for me to watch the actual abduction of my dog,” Jennie told KPIX. “So, we’re just trying to get the word out to everyone.”

Within 24 hours, Lily’s Facebook page had been viewed more than 10,000 times and Jenny’s loved ones have gathered to support her, including her father, Don Seta, who flew in Sunday morning all the way from Boston.

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“It’s like a kidnapping,” he said. “To us it’s not different than a person being taken. It’s that important to us.”

Jennie’s boyfriend, Masaru Fujita, choked back tears. “A lot of people that don’t own pets, they don’t understand, like, it’s almost like a child to you.”

As a loyal companion, Lily helped Jenny get through the loss of her mother to breast cancer last year. So she’s become an important part of the entire family.

“I actually woke up this morning and I thought that everything was a dream,” said Jennie’s brother Chris. “I thought it was a bad nightmare. And within a minute of being awake I realized that Lily really was missing and she is a family member.”

With a web of social media followers, they’re hoping someone will spot Lily and call police or that the person who took her will have a change of heart and realize that, to the family, Lily is far more than just property.

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The family is offering a $1,000 reward for Lily’s safe return. Anyone with information can contact San Francisco police or leave a message at the e-mail address