A Botetourt County couple is now reunited with their dog. Jeff and Candi Akers say someone stole their dog from the family car in downtown Roanoke.
Jeff Akers said he left the families Shih Tzu, Maggie, in his locked car with the windows cracked Wednesday at around 11 a.m. He ran into the bank on Church Avenue for 10 minutes. When he came out the dog was gone, he said.
"She is not just our four-legged creature. She's our baby," said Candi Akers as she cuddled with, Maggie.
So when the Akers realized their 9-year-old dog was gone Wednesday morning they were emotional.
"Terrible, terrible," said Candi Akers. "My husband couldn't hardly talk. He was crying all the time. I was trying not to."
They put flyers up downtown and could not eat or sleep during what was a long stormy night. "She's scared of the thunderstorms so we were worried," said Candi Akers.
It turns out a city worker spotted the dog with someone on Church Avenue, according to Roanoke Police. When that person walked away and left Maggie in the street, the city worker scooped her up, said Jeff Akers.
The flyers worked. That city worker saw them and called the Akers.
Roanoke police say they're investigating this as a stolen dog case, though neither police nor the Akers can really know for sure what happened.
Candi Akers admits her dog could potentially hit the electric lock that could have unlocked the car, but she said there is no way her dog could open a car door.
"Somebody had to open the door. That's the only thing I can think of," said Candi Akers. "Somebody had to open the door."
While some may question the Akers' decision to leave their dog in the car, especially on a summer day, the couple defended their actions.
"If people knew us they wouldn't question that because we wouldn't do anything to hurt her," said Jeff Akers. "It was cool yesterday morning and I was parked in the shade and I wasn't going to be in the bank more than five minutes to cash a check and I cracked the windows a little bit to let her have some air."
The Akers said they won't be taking Maggie in the car anytime soon.
"I'm going to have to think twice about it now that this happened," said Jeff Akers. "I actually don't know if I'm going to take her anymore if I have to leave her."