Police in Sarasota, Florida recently cracked a case with a rather unique plot twist. Tracie Eileen Defee and Michael Paine were apprehended in Sarasota, just south of Tampa. The duo had been breaking into homes in the area but they weren’t alone. Another unwilling accomplice was spotted with them on surveillance footage.
A Pawsitively Adorable Accomplice
An adorable white Bulldog was seen tagging along with the couple on their string of burglaries. Maggie was her name and she has quite a story to tell if only she could talk. Little Maggie was stolen from the other side of the country over three years ago! She was taken from her family’s home in California and was nowhere to be found. That was until the Sarasota Police Department and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services put two and two together. They found Maggie’s microchip which showed that she belonged to a man in California.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to catch a few burglars and burglaries in action but this is by far the most unique one,” Sgt. Eric Safford told Bay News 9.
The pair was responsible for at least eight burglaries over the course of three days in October. A resident had been paying attention to the news and noticed a person walking a bulldog who matched the description of the suspects. Police responded and found Defee and Paine hiding in a bathroom inside a home.
Defee and Paine were arrested and taken to the Sarasota County Jail. Then it was Maggie’s turn. Luckily she was given a much better sentence! The police department was able to raise $800 in just two days to pay for Maggie’s transportation home. Yet again, Maggie set out on another adventure, this time to be reunited with her family.
Haulin’ Paws is a dog transportation service that is based out of Texas. The organization was kind enough to provide transportation for Maggie from Sarasota to California, which consisted of five days of travel for little Maggie! It gave Maggie plenty of time to catch up on her beauty rest.
Maggie’s family has asked to remain anonymous but rest assured, Maggie is safe and happy to be home!
“Unfortunately the owner has asked we not share any videos or photos of them reunited but we can promise you that they are back together,” the Sarasota Police Department said in a Facebook post
Defee and Paine have been charged with a plethora of crimes. Defee faces 12 counts total and Paine has just two. They’ve since bonded out of the Sarasota County Jail but the investigation remains open.