Miranda prayed to God that somebody would find her precious rare Australian bearded dragon lizard named Ganga.
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The pet, a rescue and whose claws she painted pink, disappeared Thursday from a pet store that she had boarded while she cared for an out of state family member who was ill.
Someone had taken the reptile out of its unlocked cage, prompting a frantic call to police who launched an investigation. Ganga was returned to Miranda on Monday. She was hungry, thirsty and her skin was pale. But she was alive and well.
"I said, 'Thank you, Jesus. She's home," said Miranda, who asked that her last name not be used as the case is still open. "I believed that she was going to come home."
Alhambra Police Sgt. Jerry Johnson said the case was among the more unusual ones he's seen.
"I think this is the first time I've seen a stolen-lizard-out-of-the-pet-store case," Hammond said. "I don't remember ever seeing anything like this."
What's particularly surprising is the fact that police tracked down the suspected thief.
A teenager with his mother is responsible for taking the lizard from its cage at McCormick's Pet Emporium, police said.
Authorities said they identified the thief from surveillance video at the store. Miranda said that the boy's mother left her name in a guest registry.
Over a tense weekend, Miranda and fellow churchgoers prayed for Ganga's safe return.
"We pray for everything and Ganja was a part of our prayer," Miranda said.
Police tracked down the foot-long lizard at a home in Pomona and reunited it with its owner.