Andrew, the stolen Jurupa Valley dog, returned after Spectrum employee caught on video

by in News

Andrew the pug was back in owner Melissa Cortez’s arms Tuesday, March 26, after a cable television employee entered her Jurupa Valley neighborhood without suspicion and then apparently stole her beloved dog.

A fact she said she still finds disturbing.

Andrew, a recent gift from Cortez’s mother for her 21st birthday, lives with Cortez, her mother and sister in their mobile home near Mission Boulevard and Crestmore Road in the Rubidoux area. The 10-month-old pup went missing about 12:30 p.m. Monday after being let out briefly to play in the yard and relieve himself. Cortez was at work at the time and searched the neighborhood and shelters when she returned home, to no avail.

The family then checked with a neighbor, who supplied a video that shows a man walking from a Spectrum van toward a home. A second video shows the man opening a gate, picking up a dog and walking back to the van, where he climbed in and drove away.

“I was angry and upset at first, just thinking that someone took him, but to see someone who people usually trust to be in their homes felt like an even bigger violation,” Cortez said in an interview Tuesday.

Cortez said she couldn’t get through Spectrum’s automated phone system to report the theft, so she filed a report with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Cortez finally received a response from Spectrum after posting the video to social media, where it was widely shared. A Spectrum security employee returned Andrew about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, she said.

Spectrum spokesman Dennis Johnson said Tuesday that the employee has been fired.

“As part of its support of the Riverside Sheriff’s investigation, Spectrum security has recovered the dog and has returned it to the owner,” he said.

A sheriff’s spokesman said about 2 p.m. Tuesday that no one had been arrested.

Cortez said Andrew did not appear to fight his abduction and that the thief took advantage of his trusting nature.

“He has a larger-than-life personality and is extremely trusting, and for someone to take advantage of that breaks my heart,” she said. “I don’t know if I would have gotten my baby back if it wasn’t for social media and people who spread the word,” she said.