STOLEN DOGS RECOVERED
When the Rickard’s van containing two Akitas and two Corgis was stolen en route to AKC/Eukanuba, the odds of recovering the dogs were dismal indeed.
December 21, 2010 | TheDogPress.com
Rickard, TheDogPress Staff
Even as the Show Dogs Stolen story broke, the hope was that the theft was connected to the big AKC Eukanuba dog show; that perhaps it was dog people who stole them and they would not be harmed because to think car thieves would care for the dogs was unrealistic. The show could not be put off and there were other dogs to be shown, contracts and obligations to be fulfilled. But above duty and professionalism loomed the ominous reality that every hour passed lessened the chance that the dogs would ever be seen again.
Consider the circumstances. The mother Lori Rickard, eleven hours away, agonized helplessly. She told TheDogPress, “We prayed that the media and police in the busy Southern CA metropolis would take time from murders, rapes, thefts, and missing children investigations to look for a van with our beloved pets. We were told cars are stolen every 30 seconds down there.”
This story has a happy ending thanks to quick thinking and the persistence of owner handler Kirstina Rickard, her family, fellow handler Tamara Houser, Detective Ron Vandevegete and the Bellflower Sheriffs detective team. Some would say it was a miracle. But then how many dogs are as famous as their namesake? See the photo below autographed by country music star Trace Atkins.
We asked Lori Rickard how it could have happened without anyone hearing a ruckus. “At every dog show motel there are LOT'S of vans full of dogs, many barking all night. We hear car alarms go off all night long, no one gets up to see what is going on unless they know their alarm sound. In Southern CA there is noise 24 hours a day. It is a city that never sleeps. Even when you see someone getting into a car and the alarm goes off do you call the police? No, you assume it is the owner.”
“When they finished, it was close to midnight. They went to the 2nd floor room with the 3 short coated dogs that prefer warmth to cold, leaving the 2 Akitas and 2 Corgis to sleep in the van where it was cooler.”
Why would a thief break into a van that held dogs? Lori’s response “This is a Chevy express van with no windows on the sides. They couldn’t have seen the dogs. Trace is in the Top 5 Akita's in the US. He and DiDi, the younger Akita, are very used to people coming and going in the van, taking them in and out of crates, getting them to ringside and all. They wouldn’t bark and although Corgis do tend to bark as they are Corgis, ours do not bark at people. They’ve learned. You can not have a dog that travels every weekend to shows with you that would carry on if people approach their beds or cars.” The stress is still evident in her voice as she laughs and tries to make a joke, “Now if the thieves had a dog to add in the van I am sure ALL of our dogs would have had some words to say!”
“While waiting for the police to come David called home and
Kristina’s father Tom left within minutes for the 11 hour drive.
They also called Tamara Houser who was going to be staying with them
the rest of the weekend for the shows. Tamara left her home at 7 am
to go help her friends.”
“They told us that the van had also been recovered. It was found in Compton CA! The Detective explained that the thieves had broke in through the driver’s side door with a metal bar they call a slim jim. The professionals then break the ignition column, start the car and within SECONDS, they are gone!”
Rickard said “The
sheriffs said that kind of van is one of the top 5 vehicles stolen
in that area as it holds a lot of property and can transport lots of
people. It sounds like the thieves did not open the sliding door,
just jumped in the front and drove off! They would not tell us
where in Compton the van was found as they didn’t want us to go to
that area to search for the Corgis. The sheriffs stressed for us to
STAY AWAY from the area.”
She said “Without ALL of you this could not have ended the way it
did. We are having a very blessed Holiday and we hope everyone else
in the world feels as blessed as we do! God Bess you all.”
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