The Humane Society of Marion County (HSMC) were ecstatic to report today that, due to a tip, Gabe, the stolen American Staffie, has been found. You may have first read about the theft here when it was reported in Examiner on June 1. Gabe was stolen from a shelter adoption event at PetSmart in Ocala, Florida, on May 30. In the original video that was provided, you can see a man walk up to the cages, open one, place a leash on Gabe and casually walk out of the store. The pictures of Gabe went viral, and rewards were offered for information leading to his recovery.
Today, the Ocala Police Department (OPD) released a press release regarding Gabe’s recovery; “Stolen Dog Recovered – Suspect Arrested.” Apparently, today, Sergeant Erica Hay responded to the HSMC to check on three dogs she had recently helped rescue from a storm drain. While at HSMC, Sgt. Hay was advised that an anonymous tip had come to them of an address where Gabe could be located.
The address was located in Marion County, outside her jurisdiction, so Sgt. Hay contacted members of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Criminal Interdiction Unit. Deputy Roy Hay and Sergeant Jeremy Nix, members of that Unit, responded to her request for assistance. The address mentioned by the tipster was 6489 SW 109th Place, Ocala, Florida.
When they reached that location, they found a dog matching the description of Gabe, tied up in the front yard. They contacted Marion County Animal Control to come to the address to scan the dog for a chip. Once the dog was scanned, they were pleased to find that the number matched the one assigned to Gabe. OPD was notified that Gabe had been located and positively identified. At the scene where they found Gabe, they also located Sean Daniel Murray, 38, of Germantown, New York. Mr. Murray was temporarily in the area doing work on the home for the man who purchased the house.
Using the video, Murray was identified as the suspect who stole Gabe from the Humane Society, and was taken into custody and transported to OPD. OPD Detective Mike Hilton interviewed Murray. Based on that interview, Murray was arrested.
Gabe was unharmed, and has been returned to the Humane Society. The OPD would like to thank the community for their assistance, and specifically, the anonymous tipster. Everyone is happy the case has reached a positive conclusion, and so quickly, Presumably, everyone except Mr. Murray, who has been placed under arrest for one Count of Retail Theft Petit.
Though he is now safe, Gabe still needs a real furever home. He is a sweet loving dog, and does not seem to have suffered any trauma from his ordeal. If you would like to take Gabe into your home, please contact HSMC at (352) 873-7387. If Gabe has already been scooped up, due to so much publicity, there are many other animals there who would love their own furever home. Here is their Adopt-a-Pet link to their current adoptables.