Owner Grabs Her Dog from Thieves

Hoping to get her back, Lola's owners posted pictures of her in the neighborhood, near Whole Foods where she was stolen. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

This is a real shaggy dog story, with a very happy ending.

Murray Street resident Jacqueline Toboroff Gross and her boyfriend, Christophe Noels, left their 13-year-old dog, a Pomeranian and Chihuahua mix named Lola, tied up outside the Tribeca Whole Foods while they shopped there. The 12-pound dog was gone when they returned for her 15 minutes later, but they were approached by several people who gave them a description of the alleged thieves, a man and woman. The male, they said, wore a red puff jacket, furry hat, and had a red suitcase. The couple, who appeared to be homeless, was said to be walking a “beautiful” Rottweiler.

About two hours later, while Gross, 41, and Noels, 53, were desperately canvassing the neighborhood and posting flyers, they saw the man and woman who fit the description standing outside the Patriot Bar on Chambers Street, the woman smoking a cigarette. With them was Lola, wearing a leash of a different color that apparently was meant to make the dog harder to pick out. Gross said she saw the dog’s own leash in the open suitcase.

“I grabbed Lola and my boyfriend started screaming at the couple, who really didn’t react,” Gross recalled, saying they appeared “drugged out. Stoned.” With the dog in hand, Gross and Noels crossed Chambers Street and found a police officer with the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau in his marked car. Gross said the cop’s superior told him to wait for backup, and two more cars arrived (“All for my 12-pound dog,” Gross laughed). But by then the alleged dog thieves were gone. A 1st Precinct officer told her the dog theft is under investigation

Most importantly, though, Lola was back home. “I’m so happy, and so grateful that I found her because of all these people coming forward with great descriptions.”

As for tying the dog outside while she shopped, Gross said, “I would never do it again. It was a stupid thing to do. Wherever you are, you don’t know who’s walking around.”