SAN DIEGO — Update:
After driving all night, a Utah family Friday was reunited with its beloved mini-Goldendoodle, Chancho, who was stolen from a recreational vehicle campground near Mission Bay.
All week long CBS 8 has been following the saga of a Utah family's Goldendoodle. On Thursday, CBS 8 received confirmation that Chancho had been found and would be staying with a canine officer until Chancho's family arrived in San Diego to pick him up.
The Grillo family of Utah was vacationing at Campland by the Bay on Aug. 2 when they noticed their Goldendoodle Chancho was not in his crate outside of their tent.
After they searched for their pet in the nearby area the following morning and after later reviewing security footage, the family saw what appeared to be Chancho being led away on a leash by a man and notified the San Diego Police Department, said Lt. Adam Sharki.
After reviewing hours of footage, detectives saw the man entering the park without a dog and then leaving with Chancho.
After the original story aired on CBS 8, the suspect reached out to the Grillo family stating he didn’t steal the dog, but rather bought it from someone at Campland. Through this interaction, police were able to locate Chancho and arrest and charge the suspect.
The suspect, 40-year-old Johnny Smith, was arrested on Thursday in National City and booked on felony theft charges, Sharki said. He's expected to be arraigned Monday.
After our story first aired about Chancho, a Goldendoodle puppy that was stolen from a family at Campland on the Bay while vacationing from Utah, CBS 8 acquired the security footage from San Diego Police Department showing the thief who stole Chancho.
“We believe the suspect in this case took the Goldendoodle, brought their own leash, put it on him and walked right out the front gate,” said Captain Scott Wahl of SDPD’s Northern Division. “He can be seen getting into a two-door, dark-colored sedan and leaving the area. And what we believe is that this person was there earlier in the day, saw the dog that was there, and later came back in the middle of the night to retrieve the dog.”
“Just heartbroken, I mean, knowing that that’s my dog and you know, I don’t know where he is right now,” said McGuire. “We don’t know if he’s ok and not knowing who took him and just hoping and praying that we can find him.”
To check out a viewer tip, CBS 8’s Brian White drove out to Missouri Street in Pacific Beach where a woman said she saw a dog that looked like Chancho near a camper vehicle parked on the street.
Brian met up with Skylar Holcomb, a local nanny who sent in the tip, and they located the camper.
“How could anyone just walk up and steal someone else’s dog, I mean, especially at a campground? I’m appalled that people would actually do that,” said Holcomb.
Before long, they spotted the dog Skylar had seen, but as it turned out, the dog wasn’t Chancho, but it did look similar.
“I saw the news story and I was like, ‘I don’t know if it’s the same thing, but it looks similar,’ and I’ve lost my dog and I just want to make sure someone finds their dog,” said Holcomb.
Above all, Hannah is grateful for all the responses she is receiving from people out there who care and want to help.
“Thank you so much to everyone sending in tips, to everyone looking out for my dog, Chancho,” said McGuire. “We appreciate it so much. It brings me a lot of hope and a lot of peace to know that people are out there looking for him.”
Captain Wahl said they’re investigating this case as a felony theft and they were offering a $1,000 reward for any crime stoppers tips that lead to finding Chancho.
WATCH RELATED: Utah family’s Goldendoodle puppy stolen at Campland on the Bay (August 2022)