Stolen Van: Handler Explains
Amie McLaughlin, Tony Carter’s assistant did this public posting 6/10/18 and subscriber Fran Milteer forwarded it to our offices.
Amie wrote: I want to start by saying thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the people who supported and showed love throughout this whole ordeal. To all the naysayers, I want you to hear this whole story and put yourself in our shoes.
I will start from the very beginning. We arrived at In N Out Burger to run to the restroom and quickly order food to eat on the road. Tony and Lexi got out to walk in, and I stayed in the van to put my makeup on and water and check on dogs. I finished what I was doing. We left the van running with A/C on for the dogs. I opened my door, pressed the lock button, shut my door, and walked in. Little to my knowledge at the time, with these new vans, if a door is open when you press the lock button, they do not lock.
I walked in to go the restroom and make sure they knew what I wanted. I talked to them for a few minutes, and less than 6-7 minutes later Tony went out to check on the dogs. He came running back in and said the van had been stolen. My heart absolutely dropped to the floor. My soul dog was in that van, along with my other two fur kids and all of our clients fur kids, who are our life and family.
We automatically called 911 and told them what happened. Many people there at the restaurant saw us panicking and asked what was wrong. 2 very sweet girls offered to take me to go look around town to see if it was still driving in the vicinity. Not having any vehicle to do that ourselves, I said yes. They drove me all over the town to where they thought they may be driving. After about 25 minutes they said they had to go home and they brought me back. When I got back a police officer was there talking to Tony.
All we could do at that point was call everyone and talk to the police and tell them everything we could. I informed them that they had my laptop and my wallet and debit and credit cards. I proceeded to check location settings on the laptop, to no avail as they had not opened it yet. I also checked my bank statements and nothing had been used yet.
By this point Anna Maria Gray showed up to help in any way she could. She drove Tony to the store to get chargers for our phones, and we stayed with the manager at the restaurant. They returned and we proceeded to keep searching everything we could. After a little while, I checked my email and saw two messages of declined transactions. At that time the officer had come back to check on us. I immediately told him and showed him the emails. He then told me they were online transactions and that with them being declined, there was no way to track them.
Then Dale McElvy, one of Zion's owners showed up. Shortly after that is when I got the ping on my laptop. It said "Cascade, CA". Little to my knowledge at the time, that in Redding there is a Cascade Park. I also saw a small dot on the map located about 20 minutes away from where we were. We called to police and told them where I saw the dot. Dale then took us all to that area and we drove around. They had cops all out searching the area, in addition to a helicopter. We were searching until midnight, and by that point we couldn't see to search anymore. We got a motel room and attempted to rest a little. Which was not really doable. The next morning at 5am we met up with Cathy Ken KC Johnson and Roman Kokotek to help us look.
As we started searching around everywhere we could think, we got a call from a man who thought he had followed our van the day it was stolen going up to Shingletown. We instantly drove up that way. We went to a gas station where the man said he saw the van go past. We went in and the guy inside showed us security footage. We watched the 2 hour time frame after the van was taken and the man said it would have passed by and much to our dismay we did not see our van. We then headed back to Redding and got another tip from a woman who said she had seen what she believed was our van and gave me the street names. I called the police. They took the street names and asked if we could come to the station. I then called Roman and asked him to go to where the lady had said she saw it.
We went to the station and they took us upstairs. They put us in a room and left. About 15 minutes later they took Tony away for questioning and me away for questioning. They asked for all the details that I knew and the officer walked out. A few minutes later he walked in and said "they found your van and your dogs are ok". I broke into tears. I followed him out and saw Tony also in tears. Ken had already left when he saw someone say something on Facebook. He didn't even know where he was going. We called him, Dale, and Roman and told them all where they found it.
We arrived to a street with woods on one side and houses on the other. There was police tape across a small dirt road and cops everywhere. All we asked was if the dogs were ok. They said they were and that they were watered and pottied. That still didn't settle us until we were able to physically see them. We saw two vans from the humane society drive out and were informed the dogs would be taken there. We instantly hopped in cars and drove there. They took all the info on the dogs and checked them out. Then after what seemed to be an eternity, they started bringing dogs out a few at a time, who they were comfortable taking out of their crates. The tears started flowing when Kasey, Zion, and Iceman all came out and just couldn't contain their excitement. They then brought Binna, Skipper, Vanna, and Kai'a and I couldn't contain my excitement with Binna up in my face and Skipper wagging his tail so hard and Vanna climbing in my lap. We then went back where they had Cruz, Ash, Meena, Blaze, Maya, Meghan, and Jack. We took each one out and hugged them and told them we loved them.
We loaded each dog up into air conditioned cars and proceeded to Lori Rickard and her husband Tom's house. They were so amazing to allow us to walk dogs there and provide us with such care and help. Thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts.
That evening we rented a van and loaded up the dogs who had not gone home with their owners, and headed home. Getting home and getting these dogs happy and settled, was so much more important than the dog show.
So as an ending to my little story, I want to thank everyone for their love and support and everything you have all done. The dog community is amazing. You all play such a huge part in finding these dogs.
I don't care about all the things these lowlife people stole, and they took basically everything. All I care about is the lives of these dogs. I am forever grateful that these dogs are here today. Thank you. thank you thank you to all of the owners for your love and support.
I will respond and thank everyone personally, I just needed to say this and let everyone know how important you all are and how much you mean to us.
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