Police plan to charge a man caught on surveillance cameras stealing a beagle from an MSPCA shelter in Methuen after he returned the dog Wednesday morning.
Neither Methuen police nor the MSPCA would identify the man who allegedly took Sophie, a 7-year-old beagle, from Nevins Farm on Saturday. Officials said the man would eventually be charged with larceny.
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Rob Halpin, a spokesman for the MSPCA, said Sophie was returned Wednesday morning and is doing fine.
"She's well. She's fine. She's under lock and key," Halpin said.
He said it was unclear why the man, who was seen sneaking out the back door of the facility with the dog and accompanied by a woman, took Sophie.
"It's very hard to findout what motivates people to do that. There wasn't a coherent explanation," he said.
Halpin said the MSPCA tries to walk a fine line between access to dogs up for adoption and security. He said the agency allows people to walk a dog around the property if they leave behind a driver's license, but it does not allow people to bring home pets before adopting them.
The man and woman were caught on surveillance tape sneaking out the back door of the facility with Sophie, the stolen dog.
On its Facebook page, the MSPCA shared details about Sophie.
"Sophie is 7 years old and weighs about 40 pounds. She is mostly white with a brown face and hasblack fur covering much of her back. Surveillance video from Nevins Farm’s recently installed video monitoring system captured these images of the couple we believe stole her. They exited the property in what appears to be a silver Jeep Liberty," the post reads.
"It’s possible that these are the people who have made previous attempts at stealing a beagle from our facility," Mike Keiley, director of the Nevins Farm location said in a statement."They clearly did their homework and knew the layout of the adoption center and how to escape with a dog without being seen by staff.”
Two other dogs were taken earlier this year from Nevins Farm and were anonymously returned later. It was unclear who took those animals, Halpin said.
The focus now, Halpin said, is finding the right home for Sophie.
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