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Thursday, September 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Man suspected of stealing dog in California found with canine in Spokane

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 8, 2020

A Spokane woman reported to deputies that she discovered a man had stolen his German shepherd from a family in California.  (Spokane County Sheriff's Office)
A Spokane woman reported to deputies that she discovered a man had stolen his German shepherd from a family in California. (Spokane County Sheriff's Office)

Deputies helped reunite a California woman and her stolen dog this week, according to a news release. The dog had been a gift to her autistic son, she told deputies.

Mark C. Steel, 59, who stayed with family in California in late July, arrived in Spokane to stay with his uncle, before realizing his uncle was out of town, according to the release.

When a neighbor let him know his uncle was gone, Steel parked at his uncle’s residence and stayed in his truck with a German shepherd.

The neighbor called one of Steel’s family members and learned Steel had stolen the German shepherd from the neighbor of another family member in California. The neighbor gave the California woman’s name and contact information to deputies.

The California woman confirmed to deputies over the phone that the German shepherd was stolen from her yard on July 31, and her home surveillance video appeared to show Steel taking the dog from her fenced yard. She gave officers pictures of the dog and licensing paperwork from the state of California.

A deputy recognized a truck matching the description of Steel’s near the uncle’s house on Thursday and reportedly saw Steel and the dog sleeping in it.

Steel agreed to answer questions, according to the release. He said last week he saw the dog running free near a highway on-ramp in California. He knew the dog belonged to his friend but ended up leaving town with the dog.

When he was asked if failure to return the shepherd wasn’t considered stealing, he replied, “Well, once you put it like that, it sounds like it,” according to the release.

Steel was booked into the Spokane County Jail for possession of stolen property. SCRAPS has the dog in custody until its owners can arrange to get her.

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