'Man in a scary Freddie Krueger mask stole our chihuahua', say worried Doncaster family
A devastated Doncaster family suspect a man in a ‘Freddie Krueger’ mask of stealing their pet chihuahua from outside their home.
They have told their story after police revealed this week they were investigating 63 cases of dog thefts after an alarming rise in ‘acquisitive crime’.
Dad of three Anthony Whitehead said their four-year-old-pet, Mercedes, was taken on December 23 after she had just been outside the family home in Denaby to relieve herself.
He said: “We think they initially tried to take her mother, who was also out, but she bit them. My wife heard someone say ‘ow’ and then the dogs ran back in.
"It was only a few minutes later that we realised that Mercedes was missing.
"My wife said they were wearing a Freddie Krueger mask. She saw them from the gate.
"She was scared by what happened.”
She said police were investigating.
"It spoiled Christmas for the kids,” he said. “All they wanted was to have Mercedes back.”
He said they had beefed up security around their home to make sure there is no repeat, and added they planned to put banners up around Mexborough and Conisbrough to help find Mercedes.
He is urging anyone with information to call the police, on 101, or to ring him on 07936 428521.
South Yorkshire’s assistant Chief Constable Tim Forber told a Police and Crime Commissioner meeting last week: "We have seen a significant increase in dog thefts. We still have a relatively small number of offences but these are commodities which have significantly grown in value over lockdown.
"Ultimately much of acquisitive crime is fueled by addiction, people are after commodities they can sell.
Temporary Chief Supt Stephen Chapman said thieves did not just target pedigree dogs, crossbreeds were also at risk.
He told the meeting: "It is an emotive subject. The key message is if you hear and see suspicious activity, you need to report it.
"We want to hear about it, there are offenders we haven't yet identified and it will be taken seriously. There was a recent case in Sheffield which detectives were involved in, that's how seriously we take it."
Police have issued advice about keeping dogs safe here.