Eight-month-old black lab puppy found after being stolen from front yard of Wellesley home; two suspects charged
“That was totally overwhelming,” said Illana Nissenbaum, next to her husband Neil and their three children aged nine, 11 and 13 years. “We’re just happy to have her back.”
Ember had been tied up outside the Nissenbaum house on Redwing Road, Wellesley, to dry off after bathing in a nearby watering hole last Thursday when Illana discovered her missing.
“She never comes out,” said Illana. “The only way she can come off is if she runs out the door.”
Ember had vanished without a trace and left no sign that she had somehow slipped out of her collar.
“Since the leash was gone and the buckle for the dog tied in front of the house was still intact, [officers] found that the dog was being taken, ”said Wellesley Police Chief Jack Pilecki.
Ember, the family insists, is an integral part of Wellesley. “Famous” as they describe it. She is loved by dog owners who have witnessed her off-leash walks, extensive command knowledge, and love for cheese. When news spread that the puppy was missing, the community took action.
“Everyone rose,” said Neil Nissenbaum. “I think my wife told me that the postman, the UPS driver and the police were looking for Ember that morning.”
They did what they could to help when two officers spent the next few days summarizing the incident. Police knocked on doors looking for witnesses and received footage from surveillance cameras and doorbells in nearby houses.
Eventually the case broke. A vehicle kept reappearing in the footage the officers were reviewing. It appeared to have circled the neighborhood several times just before Ember disappeared.
Police tracked the vehicle’s license plate to a Framingham resident and went looking for the puppy on Sunday.
“After briefly monitoring the suspect’s home, they clearly observed Ember being let into the yard from the suspect’s home,” Wellesley police said in a statement.
Police recovered the puppy, who was happily returned to the Wellesley Police Department on Sunday night unharmed.
A 40-year-old man from Framingham was arrested Monday and charged in Dedham District Court on Monday, police said. Another suspect, a 32-year-old woman, also from Framingham, is due to be summoned to court and charged at a later date. Their names have not been published by the authorities.
Both are charged with stolen property over $ 1,200 and conspiracy, officials said.
Pilecki said the suspects told police they were on their way home from the hospital when they spotted the dog and thought it might help them feel better. This explanation is “not really plausible”.
The Nissenbaums praised Wellesley Police Department on Wednesday, saying they took the search seriously and helped the family every step of the way.
“They were just so calm and comforting and kept our hope up,” Illana said. “We just felt we were in really good hands.”
They don’t care about the consequences the two suspects face in court. Instead, her attention is directed to her revered Ember, who turned around with an open tongue as her owners related the incident.
“She brought us together as a family,” said Illana. “She is just brilliant.”
Andrew Brinker can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @andrewnbrinker.