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The incident happened just before 4 a.m. on March 17 at a gas station in the 19000 block of Van Dyke The Detroit News

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What seemed like a friendly encounter petting a dog turned into a theft last weekend and Detroit police are searching for two people in connection with the pooch's disappearance.

The brazen incident happened just before 4 a.m. on March 17 at a gas station in the 19000 block of Van Dyke on the city's east side. The encounter was caught on video surveillance, as the station is part of the city's Project Green Light monitoring program.

Detroit police said a 58-year-old man was standing in the parking lot with his 5-month-old black pit bull named Black Panther, Panther for short, when was he approached by another man who was driving a blue Ford Explorer. The man talked with the dog owner and began to pet the animal. He then removed the collar and picked up the dog off the ground, the video showed.

When the dog owner began to challenge the man who held his dog, a female exited the vehicle and attempted to assault the dog owner, police said, while the pit bull was placed in the back of the SUV. The pair fled the scene eastbound on Seven Mile, police said.

Police said the man who took the dog has a thin build, with sunglasses, gloves, an army green baseball cap, dark-colored jacket and hooded sweatshirt and jeans. The female was of medium build and wearing a dark-colored and white striped jacket, khaki pants and brown boots.

The getaway vehicle is said to be a 2000 blue Ford Explorer with Michigan plate number DRV4782 with a dent on the rear bumper under the license plate.

People with information on this theft or the whereabouts of the suspects are encouraged to call Detroit Police at 313-596-1140 or CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter:@leonardnfleming

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