The 2-pound Yorkshire terrier had been in the store only an hour before a man took her to the back, stuffed her down his sweater and walked out the front door.
Bridget Royal, kennel manager at All About Puppies in Largo, near St. Petersburg, was snapping photos of the new, pint-sized puppy Jan. 12 for a potential buyer when a man walked up asking about her.
How much is the puppy? he asked. Does the store offer financing for the dogs?
She answered his questions and moved on while he milled about.
A few minutes later, the puppy, worth about $1,600, was gone.
On Friday, 38-year-old Wayne Junior Barfield was arrested in connection with the puppy theft.
Case closed — save one detail.
Authorities “found the guy," Royal said, "but where's the puppy?"
The stolen dog was found on Wednesday, according to Bay News 9.
Largo police say the day the puppy went missing, Barfield was driven to a shopping plaza in St. Petersburg near a Winn-Dixie and Dunkin' Donuts, where he traded the puppy for crack cocaine and cash.
He acknowledged giving the dog to someone but would not reveal to whom, police told the Tampa Bay Times.