An eight-pound dog named Ozzy was reunited with his emotional owner Tuesday night after police traced the alleged canine thief through a YouTube video titled “My New White Maltese. Title Biggy Smalls,” and a Facebook page.
Richmond district police said they arrested Tony Du, 19, on a grand theft charge after they linked him to the video of Ozzy with a red bow on its head and subtext that read, “My new dog Biggy Smalls… My boy friend found him and he’s adorable.”
Two-year-old Ozzy was stolen a week before from the front of Safeway at Seventh Avenue and Cabrillo Street while the dog's owner shopped inside.
“I couldn’t believe it,” the owner said. “Right there from in front of the store. I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something about this.’”
He flooded the neighborhood with fliers that read, “Please help me unite with my dog,” and asked people to call or text him with any stolen Maltese tips.
“I was getting calls at all hours of the night,” he said. “Then I got the link to the video and the Facebook profile.”
Richmond police Capt. Richard Correia said officers found the new “owner” who led them to Du, who admitted to police it was in fact Ozzy.
“The dog had a name change and was living with a pit bull,” Correia said. “You could just tell he was living in a different world.”
He said the relationship between the person who posted the video and Du is unclear, but they did know each other and a third person may have been involved in the transaction.
Without telling the owner they reclaimed Ozzy, police asked him to drop by the station for more investigating and surprised him with his pup.
“It was the happiest day of my life,” the owner said. “I thought I was fighting a losing battle.”
Correia said the owner’s story conquered many hearts.
“I even said to the store clerks, ‘Oh, we found Ozzy,’” the police captain said, “and they started crying, too.’”