MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Pet owners beware. Murfreesboro police say brazen thieves are targeting high-dollar dogs.
A recent theft ended amazingly with the dogs rescued and safely returned. Those responsible are still at large canvasing neighborhoods.
"It's terrible because it's somebody's family members. Pets are family members," said concerned neighbor Diane Abner.
Someone stole her neighbor's two labradoodles right out of his backyard in broad daylight. The owner told us by phone that both dogs either escaped or were dumped by the person who stole them.
"Extremely lucky and rare and a great story they were returned," said Abner.
Police said there's little doubt a thief intentionally stole the dogs. Both are kept in a latched kennel in a fenced backyard.
Why take such risk to steal the pets?
"Golden doodles are going for about $500 apiece. It's fast, easy money," said Kyle Evans with the Murfreesboro police department.
Labradoodles can go for even more.
Evans said the dog-nappers are typically outsiders who cruise neighborhoods looking for targets and then leave town to sell them on Craigslist elsewhere..
"Animals have a very high resale value," said Evans.
There's a booming black market and Abner said this recent theft is far from the first.
"We've had a lot of missing dogs, purebred ones and it's concerning what's going on and what they're doing with the dogs," said Abner. .
Police said that high dollar dogs are most often sold for cash while other animals are stolen sometimes as bait for illegal dog fighting. Whatever the case the police department wants to catch those responsible.
They believe the pet thieves, possibly an organized ring, are still out there canvassing neighborhoods throughout the mid-state region.
Owners are encouraged to take precautions and that includes having your pets micro-chipped. It's your best bet for recovery if they are stolen.