A police cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.
A police cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.

A search is underway for three men who swiped a companion dog used by his owner in her work with special needs children, Los Angeles Police said Friday.

Maximus, a male Shitzu, was stolen about 3 a.m., last Saturday from inside his owner’s car in a restaurant parking lot in the 600 block of East Washington Boulevard, according to the LAPD.

The dog’s owner, whose name was withheld, works one-on-one with special needs children and uses Maximus as a companion dog to calm down the youngsters she’s helping.

The dognapping was caught on surveillance video. A man can be seen looking inside the car and then opening and closing the right front passenger door. Two other men in a white car pull up alongside as the other man reopens the car door and takes the dog, then leaves in the second car with his accomplices.

All three suspects were described as Hispanic. The first was about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a stocky build, close-cropped hair, a widow’s peak and a mustache, according to the LAPD. He was wearing an oversized black shirt with script logo on the front and back and an apparent state of California icon, along with baggy gray Dickies pants cut below the knee, white knee-high socks and white tennis shoes.

The second man was between 5 feet 8 and 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a stocky build, shaved head and mustache. He was wearing an oversized blue checked shirt with white stripes, black baggy pants and black tennis shoes.

The third man was 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a slim build, comb-over hair, closely cropped sideburns and a neatly trimmed goatee. He was wearing a black or dark blue Polo-style short-sleeved shirt, gray pants and white tennis shoes.

The suspects fled with the dog in a white four-door sedan, possibly a 2008 to 2012 Chevrolet Malibu, according to police.

Anyone with information on the suspects or whereabouts of the dog was asked to call LAPD Newton Division detectives at (323) 846-6592. Tipsters can also call a 24-hour tipline at (877) LAPD-24-7 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222- 8477. All tips can be made anonymously.

—City News Service

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