The mystery of the San Diego dognapping thickens.
After two tension-filled days that saw a bizarre ransom request for $1,000, Walter, the deaf, ailing 11-year-old mini Yorkie callously snatched from a fenced-in backyard Thursday, has reportedly been reunited with his owners.
NBC7 in San Diego, which has doggedly followed the story, reports an unidentified party in a white sports car with tinted windows was seen dropping off Walter Saturday not far from the very place where he was taken.
A neighborhood woman reportedly walking her own dog checked his dog tag and quickly phoned his owner, according to the station.
The story that followed Walter’s disappearance is even more flummoxing than the details concerning his safe return.
Walter was reportedly taken Thursday afternoon. That night – around 10:15 p.m. – actress Tricia O’Kelley received a call from a blocked number.
“I totally knew the second I heard the guy’s voice that he was not a good guy,” O’Kelley told CBS in Los Angeles.
Indeed, the male voice on the other end of the phone said, “What is the dog worth to you?” KABC-TV in Los Angeles reported.
O’Kelley told KABC that she offered the man $500, but that the sum wasn’t sufficient to secure Walter’s return.
“That dog is worth a lot more than that,” the man reportedly replied. In the background, O’Kelley could overhear a second man laughing.
O’Kelley gave the phone to her husband, Adam Rosenblatt, who helplessly heard the dognapper hang up with a promise to call back.
Later, the phone again rang with a blocked number. But this time, police were listening in on the exchange.
The man wanted O’Kelley and Rosenblatt to paper the town with phony fliers offering $1,000 as a reward for Walter’s return.
The dognapper even reportedly listed the streets on which he wanted the fliers posted. Finally, the man said he would meet Rosenblatt at a local Chevron station with one of the fliers – and the exchange would be made: Walter for the cash.
But something went awry, and the dognapper phoned to say that he had been lied to, and that police were waiting for him at the station.
“My husband said, ‘What are you talkiing about? I’m still posting the fliers that you told me to post.’ And that’s when he said, ‘You’re lying to me and I’m (expletive) keeping your dog,’” O’Kelley told CBS, Long Angeles.
That last phone call from the dognapppers came at 11:15 p.m. on Thursday. O’Kelley reportedly said she hadn’t heard anything further until his return Saturday.