Dog owners in New York City used the walking app Wag to hire people to take their animals out while they are at work.
Photo: 12122
Photo: 12122

Purloined pooch returned to NYC couple; Wag worker accused of stealing pet

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Sophie and Max Troper reported Benny, a Shih Tzu-York mix, went missing Thursday from the couple's Manhattan apartment, WPIX reported.

“Someone walked into our apartment with the intent to take him, just him, no other valuables,” Max Troper told WCBS.

New York police arrested Christian Madriaga, 22, on burglary charges Friday, according to WPIX.

After the Tropers realized Benny was missing, they rushed home to view their building's surveillance video. The tape showed a man leaving their building with Benny in his arms, according to WCBS.

“It was just like a moment you can’t explain. You just stop everything and you’re like ‘what the hell has happened here?’” Max Troper told the television station.

A spokesman for Wag said in an email that the company has changed its algorithm "so walkers will not be able to share lockbox numbers via the walker notes system."

"We also emailed all pet parents to encourage them to change their lockbox codes, and called pet parents who had direct experiences with the offending individual to make sure they are aware of the situation and that they change their lockbox code right away," the spokesman said.

The Tropers had reached out to actress Olivia Munn, a spokeswoman for Wag, who expressed relief when the dog was found,

The couple said they will no longer use the Wag app, WCBS reported.

"We remain distraught that an individual on our platform stole one of the pets entrusted in our care," Wag said in its emailed statement. "We want tto apologize to Benny and his parents for what happened and what they had to go through. We are in direct communication with Benny’s parents to discuss this situation and to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed."

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