A PUPPY was snatched from its owner’s car by a bogus animal welfare official.
Ashley Moss, 24, and his girlfriend Joanna Tinsley, 19, of Shepley, have been left devastated by the theft of eight-week-old husky Eddy on Thursday.
Ashley said: “I’m absolutely gutted.
“I was close to tears when it happened. Joanna is absolutely devastated. Eddy’s irreplaceable.”
Ashley, who works for a facility management company, was at Northgate Vehicle Sales on Red Doles Lane, off Leeds Road, on Thursday morning.
Eddy, who cost the couple £650 and needs regular attention, was in his Audi car while Ashley was carrying out electrical tests. The car was unlocked to stop the security alarm from going off.
Shortly after 11.15am a man walked into the company’s offices claiming he was from an animal welfare charity and inquiring if he could have a van for free.
It is believed he had earlier tried the same con at another company nearby.
After being turned away he left, but it was only when Ashley went to check on Eddy at about noon that he discovered the dog was gone.
“I starting running around the yard frantically, thinking he was under a van or roaming about the yard,” he said.
“When I couldn’t find him I went inside to talk to the staff and they mentioned this bloke who had been acting really oddly.”
It was only when CCTV footage was checked a short time later that the suspicious man was seen carrying a black and white object out of the company’s gates. He had been empty-handed when he arrived.
The man was white and in his late 30s and was wearing a green and yellow jacket.
Ashley contacted the charity West Yorkshire Animals in Need after the theft to find out if they were aware of the conman.
The charity’s chairman of trustees Oliver Townsend called the incident “appalling”.
“This is the theft of a very vulnerable, young dog who needs regular attention and regular feeds and cannot be left alone,” he said.
“It’s an extremely callous and opportunistic thing to do.”
Mr Townsend added that he was angry the thief had gone into the company claiming to be from a charity.
He said: “The way we operate is highly professional. We would always provide evidence of who we are.
“Unless you have something to hide, you will always provide identification.”
Anyone with information can call police on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.