Thieves are caught on surveillance video taking a French bulldog from a High Desert yard in broad daylight and now the owners of that pet are pleading for help.
Ramiro Ortega considers his dogs his children, especially 3-month-old Rocky, a French bulldog that he got for his wife after her dog recently passed away.
Rocky cost $2,500. But Ortega says he was worth every penny because he was helping mend his wife's broken heart.
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"He's just a personality," he said. "He likes to be by your feet no matter where you are he's always there."
Sunday afternoon, Rocky went missing from the Ortegas' front yard in the High Desert community of Phelan. The home is surrounded by a 5-foot tall fence and secured by a locked gate.
"The first thing we noticed was that the puppy wasn't here," Ortega said. "We're just devastated."
He couldn't imagine how Rocky could escape the yard, so he checked the security cameras.
What he saw stunned him.
Just before 1:45 that afternoon, a young man, possibly a teenager, jumps the fence and walks to the front door. He ignores the other four dogs and goes straight for Rocky. He then hands Rocky over the fence to a passenger in a silver SUV. The two get in, and a third person drives them away.
"Anger was the first thing that I felt," Ortega said. "It aggravated me very much that someone had the audacity to hop the fence and grab my pet, my family member, and just take off with him. It's heartbreaking."
Ortega reported the crime to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
Ortega also began his own investigation by posting the surveillance video on social media. The response has been overwhelming.
"It just spread like wildfire. The dog community is amazing. Everybody starts communicating, leads start to come in," he said.
Ortega is hoping one of those leads will bring Rocky back where he belongs.
He has a message for the thieves.
"It's not right. I had more faith in humanity than that," he said. "People treat dogs like their own kids. It really hurts. It's really sad to have one of your children gone, you know."