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Man sought in Tampa puppy theft

Posted: Updated:
Alice Holt Alice Holt
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

A man was caught on camera walking into Trish's All Breeds Pet Grooming and running out with a $900 toy poodle pup.

Tampa Police say they know who the suspect is, but have no idea what happened to the puppy named Cashmere.

Groomer Alice Holt says around 4:30 p.m. Monday, a man and teenage girl walked into the store on North Florida Ave.

"I asked if I could help them. They wanted to look at puppies. So I directed them over to this room with the puppies for sale," explained Holt.

A store surveillance camera captured the man picking up Cashmere from her enclosure, and then sprinting out of the store with the 2.5 pound puppy.

"All of the sudden I hear her scream 'oh my god, he's stealing the puppy'," said groomer Phillip Erwin. "I'm terrified for the puppy."

Erwin chased the man into the parking lot and managed to write down his license plate number as he drove away. Meanwhile, Holt stopped the teen in her tracks as she tried to leave the store.

"I had the phone in my hand and I said don't you move," explained Holt. "I said I'll knock you upside the head with this and I think she thought it was a gun and she put her hands up."

Tampa Police Spokeswoman Andrea Davis says the teen won't be charged in connection to the case. The man caught on camera stealing the puppy has been identified as Astun Smikle, 36. A warrant is now out for his arrest on a charge of grand theft.

The 6-month-old puppy is still missing.

"Our concern right now is for the puppy… where it went," explained Holt. "Who is taking care of it?"

If you know where he or the dog is, call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.

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