Suspect in dog-napping believed Teddy was a gift

Heather Ryan is accused of taking Teddy the dog from a Petco in Palm Beach Gardens. (WPEC|PBSO)

The woman accused of stealing another woman's beloved dog from Petco claimed a friend told her to go there to pick up a dog as a gift.

Heather Ryan, 48, is facing a grand theft charge.

Palm Beach Gardens Police say she picked up another woman's dog at Petco on Saturday night, just minutes before the dog's real owner went to claim her dog after a grooming session.

Witnesses told police Ryan walked into the store and said she was there to pick up her dog. The store worker asked Ryan if she was there to pick up Teddy, the only dog at the salon at the time. Ryan said yes, according to the clerk. The clerk then handed over Teddy to Ryan who began to cry, according to the arrest report.

Ryan, according to the clerk, said the dog looked beautiful. She went out to her car to get a debit card and paid the $49 fee and left the store. Other workers in the store noticed the Ryan was behaving oddly, according to the report. Ryan left the store. Teddy's owner then walked in and that's when workers realized they released the dog to the wrong person.

Police arrested Ryan on Tuesday. Police had her home under surveillance when they saw her walking a small white dog that looked like Teddy.

Ryan told police a friend had adopted a dog and wanted to give it to her as a gift. The friend, according to Ryan, told her to go to the grooming salon at Petco to pick the 4-legged gift.

Ryan would not name the friend. She also left her belongings behind at the Cypress Creek Tri-Rail Station before traveling to Miami. According to the police report, Ryan told police she needed a change of scenery.

Teddy, an 11-year-old Yorkie Terrier mix, is blind and suffers from diabetes. He's expected to remain at the vet for a few more days.

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