A Lansing couple looking to sell two English Bulldogs online say they were met at the Twelve Oaks Mall parking lot by thieves who held them at gunpoint and stole the dogs.
But there’s a happy ending: the puppies, Bunny and Gizmo, were returned. But it didn’t happen without hours of searching, a social media appeal, and a mysterious phone call.
A man reached out to owners of Hooligan Bullies LLC, who give their names only as Dezarae and Frank, to ask about purchasing a puppy for his 16-year-old son, said Dezarae on Facebook Live. Once Dezarae sent photos of the first dog, she says the man asked to purchase a second puppy that could be seen in the background of the photo. He said he was from Macomb County.
The second puppy wasn’t for sale, but the man insisted on buying it, Dezarae said. The couple planned to meet him halfway between their residences Friday, which was at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, said Dezarae.
When the couple arrived at the J.C. Penney parking lot, the man sent his kids out to the couple’s car to look at the puppies, Dezarae said. The kids, along with Dezarae and Frank stayed in the back of the car with the puppies, said Dezarae.
Then things got shaky. Frank said he saw another teen running up to the car who pulled out a pistol and pointed it at Frank.
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“I grabbed the barrel and tried to rip it out of his hand and pull it down to get it away from him,” Frank said on Facebook Live. “I tried to get him away from my kids and Dezarae and away from the pups.”
Frank adds: “He freaks out. He jumps back and he’s waving the gun all around. Eyes are huge.”
Suddenly, the kids grabbed the puppies and began running in the parking lot, Frank said. Frank, Dezarae and other bystanders began to chase the kids. The kids entered a Chrysler 200 and exited the parking lot, Frank said.
The Novi Police Department responded to the scene following Dezarae’s call, she said.
On Sunday, Dezarae and Frank received an anonymous phone call in which someone stated that they could return the puppies, said the couple. They went to the 12th Precinct in Detroit, where a man gave the couple the puppies, Dezarae said.
“I cried,” Dezarae said. “I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t feel real. We kept running into dead ends for two days.”
According to Hometown Life, police said the teens left in a black Chrysler, which is possibly a 200C. Police say a temporary plate was located in the left rear window. Police are continuing to look for three males and one female.
Susan Vela of Hometown Life contributed to this report.
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