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Good Samaritan retakes vanful of hijacked dogs

/ Source: The Associated Press

A man who stole a Humane Society van full of dogs was foiled after a good Samaritan spotted the vehicle outside a north Phoenix bar and stole it back.

The van was taken around 9 p.m. Sunday outside the Humane Society's Sunnyslope office. In the van were seven dogs ages 2 months to 9 years. Phoenix police then put out a bulletin that ran on local television stations, and three hours later, the good Samaritan saw the van.

The man, whom police did not identify, confiscated the car keys from the theft suspect and returned the van to the Humane Society.

Once he got there, he called police, who then arrested 47-year-old Phoenix resident Donny Burgess, who was still at the bar. They charged him with two counts of theft — one for the stolen vehicle and the other for one of the dogs, which was missing.

The six dogs that were recovered were all in stable condition, said Humane Society spokeswoman Angela Stringfellow.

Police said the van had been left running outside the Humane Society's building.

The vehicle's keys remained in the ignition to keep the air conditioning going — standard procedure for the organization's workers, Stringfellow said. The Humane Society is offering a $1,000 reward for the safe return of the missing dog, a 2-year-old neutered male cocker spaniel mix named Sweet-ums.