Thieves Steal Veterans’ SUV with Service Dog Inside. Community Unites to Get Dog Back

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Lanasu and Tim Whitner, both Marine Corps veterans, were moving across the country when they stopped at a gas station for fuel. While they were both outside of the vehicle, getting ready to pump gas, three suspects jumped inside of the truck and took off with Lanasu’s service dog still inside.

Lanasu and Tim were moving from Illinois to Florida and had stopped at an Indianapolis gas station for fuel. According to a report by ABC News, three suspects approached came from behind the truck, hopped into the vehicle and took off.

Wrigley, Lanasu’s service dog, was inside the truck when the thieves drove off. Wrigley had been a part of their family for two and a half years, and helped Lanasu deal with her seizures and persistent migraines.

After contacting the local authorities, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department jumped on social media, posting a request for the public’s assistance in locating Wrigley.

“Help us out Indianapolis!!” said the post. “We usually post photos of our own canines, but this little guy is a service dog given by the [Veteran’s Administration] to a Marine Corps Veteran. He is part rhodesian ridgeback and his name is Wrigley.”

The police also sent out an all-points bulletin (APB), asking area law enforcement to keep their eyes open for the missing service dog.

A day after the theft, the SUV was recovered, but Wrigley was nowhere to be found. Two suspects were arrested, but a third was still being sought.

A person reached out saying that they had spotted a dog that resembled Wrigley.

Lanasu stated during an interview, “A neighbor said that they have seen him in several locations, but he was scared, so he would not go to anyone.”

An officer recommended that Lanasu and Tim place a few articles of their clothing in areas where Wrigley was reportedly spotted, hoping he would recognize the smell.

The advice worked, and Wrigley was successfully reunited with his family.

“Wrigley has been found!!!” said IMPD on their Facebook page. “Thank you everyone for your help in locating him. This is why our community and followers are so important!”

Lanasu stated after Wrigley was found, “He’s my service dog. And I can’t tell anybody how happy I am to have him back.”