OXFORD — Steven Mason, owner of Mainely Puppies on Route 26, had his stolen puppy returned after tips called in to Oxford police.

The search is still on for the suspect, who was not at her home in Bowdoin where the puppy was found. The animal was returned to the store.

Mason’s security cameras captured video of the suspect stuffing an 8-week-old cockapoo into her jacket and leaving the store with it.

The incident occurred Saturday around 4 p.m.

Mason said the store was busy that day and there were about four or five other people in the approximately 34- by 30-foot store when the woman took the male cocker spaniel/poodle mix that weighed about four pounds.

The showroom housing puppies for sale is split into two rooms and divided by a row of wire kennels. Mason said that made it easy for the woman to wait for an opportune moment when his attention was elsewhere.

“I think she had been in here before,” he said. “She kind of knew what she was doing, and I was busy, he said. “There were other people here. Nobody saw it. She waited for the opportunity and was very quick. She came in and just acted like she was looking. It was planned.” 

About 10 minutes passed before Mason noticed the puppy’s cage was empty. First, he checked the store to make sure nobody was carrying the dog around or that the puppy had somehow gotten out of his cage and might be hiding.

Mason checked the security camera in his back room and saw the woman in front of the cage from which she removed the puppy and placed it in her jacket.

“He was the only one out of that litter that I hadn’t sold,” Mason said.

The suspect was described as being between 40 and 50 years old and wearing an olive green jacket. 

Mason said he doesn’t like to hover over his customers, and he likes to allow them to interact with the puppies. That is part of why he installed security cameras in his store.

Officer Zach Bisson from the Oxford Police Department reviewed the footage, which was released to the media and placed on Mainely Puppies’ Facebook page.

This is the first such incident Mason has dealt with in his six years of operation. 

Oxford police Lt. Michael Ward said the department got a lot of calls and followed up on them.

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