Private investigators are involved in a family's desperate search for their missing English Bulldog puppies. Bubba and Bruiser disappeared on Feb. 11 and the family now has reason to believe they were stolen.
Renee Oakum is hoping investigators will be able to untangle a strange series of events.
First, there was a frantic search for a woman in a black BMW who was seen picking up the dogs the afternoon they disappeared. That woman called the family three days later and told them she handed them over to two other men in a blue van.
“They pulled her over and she was on a side street and convinced her the dogs were theirs. She let them take the dogs,” said Oakum.
Surveillance cameras from a home two blocks away captured images of a blue minivan.
Private investigator Joe Winter will be following up on that lead and others as he investigates the case. He told Local 2 he has had some success with stolen pet cases in the past.
“We've done six of them over the course of the last six years and we've recovered about half of them that were stolen,” said Winter.
A Rosenberg family has already benefited from a private investigator's skills. When their dog Mellie slipped out of their Walnut Creek home last month, 4-year-old Ava was heartbroken.
“She would cry herself to sleep and pray on her knees and ask the good Lord to bring her dog back," said Randy Flores. "As a father, I had to do everything I could to bring the dog back.”
Flores had a license plate number of a vehicle seen leaving the area. He reached out to his friend and private investigator Andre Robinson. Robinson had never handled a stolen pet case before but said he treated it just like all of the others, tracking lead after lead. It took him four days to spot the dog.
“I said, 'That's not your dog. I'm going to give you 12 hours to return the dog,'” said Robinson.
Mellie was returned to Flores' door the next day. She was still wearing her collar and tags.
The Oakums are hoping for a similar ending for Bubba and Bruiser. They are offering a $10,000 reward for their return.