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Puppy stolen from boy’s arms returned to family after rescuers’ detective work

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A puppy stolen from a Michigan boy's arms in his own front yard last week has been reunited with her family, thanks to some rescuers' detective work.

Tiffany Townsend told WXMI the dognapping happened as her children played in their front lawn on Grand Rapids' southeast side, with their puppy, Nyla, a Pekingese poodle mix. Nyla is also an emotional support animal for her son.

She says a woman pulled up to their home and grabbed the puppy out of Townsend's youngest child's arms before speeding away.

After finding out about the story,  Lyndsey Sturgeon, founder of Lost Paws, LLC, and her marketing partner, Bianca LaFountain, decided to get involved.

"That little boy was very happy to have his dog back," said Sturgeon. "His mom said he hadn’t slept, he was crying (and) he blamed himself, he was just having a really, really hard time.”

LaFountain saw another woman's post on a Facebook garage sale site trying to sell the puppy. The two rescuers took quick action – they arranged a $100 sale the next day, avoiding any accusations to not spook her.

“Being able to get that dog back to them, it was just amazing," said Sturgeon.

And though Sturgeon thought they had little chance finding Nyla once she was stolen, that never stopped them.

"Even though it’s a long shot, you need to pursue it," Sturgeon said.  "You need to look on every single possible garage sale site, Craigslist, any kind of a sale site like that."

She also recommends micro-chipping your pet, that way it proves ownership despite not having paperwork on hand.

As for the Townsend family, they're thankful to be reunited and plan to press charges against the thief.