Caroline Busby, 60, was walking her one-year-old French bulldog Luna near her home in Worcestershire last Thursday when two men stopped her. They can be seen on CCTV hiding behind a fence, waiting for unsuspecting Ms Busby to walk past. At first they appeared friendly, chatting to Ms Busby and kneeling down to stroke Luna.
But suddenly, they unhooked the young pet’s collar and ran away with her.
Ms Busby’s family have been searching frantically for the stolen puppy, including posting footage of the thieves on Facebook.
Ms Busby’s daughter Kirsty Groves, 34, said: “We’ve not slept. We are both still in shock.
“My mum’s dog is my mum’s best friend, she’s not just a dog. It is a family pet. They are part of your family.”
In a stroke of luck, police found Luna wandering around on her own just 24 hours later.
She was found in Strensham – eight miles away from where she was taken in Malvern.
However, the hunt is still on for the dognappers – and the trauma of the theft is not over for Ms Busby.
Ms Groves said: “She is nervous wreck. She doesn’t want to walk her dog anymore alone; she has to go with friends. She will not go on her own ever again.
“She’s a defenceless 60-year-old woman, it’s so unfair. I live away and I am worried about my mum and if anything like this will happen again.
“We are really angry someone has made my mum feel this way. What is wrong with people? Truly awful.”
Ms Groves further described the shocking moment Luna was taken.
She said: “You can see on the CCTV that they are crouched down, waiting for her to come around the corner.
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“We can only think that the theft was purely down to money. French bulldogs are expensive.
“I got my mum a panic alarm to take on her walks with her and she was insured as much as she could be, but this still happened.”
A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: “Two males in their early twenties seen running towards Mayfield Road carrying the dog in their arms.
“Police are continuing with their investigations and are determined to track down the offenders.”