Seattle police searching for 'hipster dognapper'

SEATTLE -- Police are asking residents to keep any eye out for a would-be dog thief they've dubbed the "hipster dognapper."

A Seattle man was out for a walk June 2 with his small puppy when he said a stranger approached him near 23rd Avenue and East James Street.

The stranger, who the dog owner described as "shaggy" looking, began petting the puppy, according to police. As he was bent over, the shaggy man unhooked the dog's collar and ran off with the pooch, police say.

The victim gave chase and soon caught the dog thief. After tackling the man and grabbing his dog, the victim said the shaggy man got up and ran away.

The victim, who sustained a few cuts and bruises during the altercation, called police and reported the dognapping. Officers searched the area but came up empty.

An odd story got even weirder later that evening when the victim once again called the police, this time to say he had found an ad on Craiglist offering a $100 reward to anyone who stole the victim's dog.

The victim told police the "hit" was likely posted by a woman who he had a recent falling out with over the dog. He said the dispute began about a month earlier after the woman returned home from a trip to Mexico with a new puppy.

The victim told police the woman in question gave him the dog, but later reneged on the offer and said she wanted the puppy back. By that point, the victim had already paid to have the dog vaccinated and licensed and believed the dog was now his, according to police.

Officers contacted the woman and she allegedly admitted to posting the Craigslist ad, though she said she didn't intend for anyone to actually attack the victim.

The strange case was sent to robbery detectives, who have dug up a few leads in the case, including a few pictures of the suspected dognapper.

Police describe the suspect as a 25- to 35-year-old white man who stand roughly 6-feet tall with dark, shaggy hair. He was last seen wearing tight pants, large dark glasses and a "possibly ironic Dick's Drive-In commemorative Seahawks t-shirt" and Seattle Supersonics cap, according to police.

Anyone with information about the hipster dognapper is asked to call (206) 684-5535 with information.