FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - An accused dog thief was collared by police just a day after, officers said, she was caught on hotel surveillance picking up the pet and walking out the door.
Authorities have identified the woman as Agustina Natali Berrondo.
After a French bulldog was stolen from a hotel in Fort Lauderdale, his owner, Danaja Brinkley, took matters into her own hands and searched nonstop for her pet.
Georgie, a 9-month-old French bulldog, was finally reunited with his owner and is getting much-needed sleep after a stressful two days.
“He is still pretty tired. He’s not really like in a playful mood or anything, but we can tell he’s in good health,” said Brinkley. “We will probably go get him checked out at the vet.”
Brinkley said her pup was stolen Wednesday at the Cambria Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.
“Apparently, she broke into Gianni’s restaurant, which is a part of the hotel, went in looking for, I guess, cash, alcohol. I don’t know what she was looking for, because we see her rumbling around in the footage,” said Brinkley. “She goes into the hallway. At the same time, he meets her in the hallway. She looks like she’s thinking if she’s gonna grab him or not, and she just picks him up and leaves with him.”
Brinkley spent two days desperately searching, until a cellphone video led her to the thief.
She said a friend saw a woman matching the description of the criminal walking with Georgie on A1A. Brinkley went to her car and started looking.
She said she quickly spotted the thief and called 911.
Something unexpected happened when good Samaritan Jason Steele, who knew Georgie’s story, saw what was going on and jumped into action.
“I was driving down A1A on my motorcycle, and I saw her following the lady with the dog, and she was screaming out the window, ‘That’s my dog! That’s my dog!'” said Steele. “I recognized her, so I turned around, got off my motorcycle, and I started following the lady on foot until I took the dog away from her.”
Steele said he snagged Georgie away from Berrondo and got into Brinkley’s car.
“She was really mistreating the animal,” said Steele.
With police on the phone, Brinkley continued to follow Berrondo.
Fort Lauderdale Police caught up to her and took her to the Broward County Jail, Thursday night.
Brinkley and Georgie are thankful to be back together and grateful for everyone who helped make that happen.
“Justice was served. That’s all I can say. She’s not going to be able to do that to anybody else ever again, hopefully,” said Brinkley. “Hopefully she learned her lesson not to ever to touch anybody else’s babies.”
Berrondo has been charged with grand theft. Her bond was set at $1,000.
She was set to appear before a judge on Friday, but she refused.
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