Gem and Whitney Begolli said their first clue that something was wrong came the second time they hired a Wag! sitter to watch their dog at their home in August.
"It’s one of the credit card companies contacting me that there’s fraudulent, suspicious activity, can you contact us right away," said Begolli.
More alerts would follow: reporting pricey purchases, including airline tickets on cards the Begollis said they were not using.
"Something insane like over $100 of pizza. Um, that’s a lot of pizza," she said.
A total of $8,300 in fraudulent charges on four different cards.
"I’m like, 'that’s impossible. I don’t have these cards with me. Who would even have access to them,'" said Begolli.
The answer became crystal clear, they said, when a bank reported the name on one of those plane tickets.
"And immediately I’m like 'you’ve got to be kidding.' It was our dog walker," Begolli explained.
They believe the Wag! sitter somehow found their hiding place for both credit cards and checkbook.
"Knowing that someone was in our bedroom, like rummaging, I don’t know how many other things in our home did he touch, did he go through, did he sleep in our bed," Begolli said.
We won't tell you his name; police are still investigating this case.
But the couple said what's more concerning is what a detective told them after they reported the theft.
"They’ve identified three different social security numbers to this individual, which to me is mind boggling," Begolli said.
It's mind-boggling because Wag! tells customers all employees must pass a vetting process and a thorough background check.
We found hundreds of wag complaints, raising similar questions:
On Twitter: "So... I guess this shirtless man is "watching" my dogs? Does he do bachelorette parties?!?"
Another: "My house robbed; don't use wag"
The Better Business Bureau warning of a "pattern of complaints" involving Wag! customers who said "items have gone missing from their homes" after hiring the company.
"I don’t know what kind of psycho, who this person is, who else has access to our home anymore, so we want to change locks, change everything," Begolli explained.
On their behalf, NBC 5 Responds in Chicago asked Wag! about this case:
Did the sitter in question get a background check? Is he still a Wag! employee?
Wag! says everyone who applies has a "robust background check in accordance with federal and state guidelines," adding the sitter is question has been "suspended while the police department conducts its investigation."
Wag! then reimbursed the Begollis for the dog walks and new locks, replacing their money but not their trust.
"I can’t allow anyone else in our home to put us in jeopardy, and my family," Begolli said.
After that interview Gem Begolli tells NBC 5 Responds in Chicago he ID'd a photo of the dog walker in a police lineup.
Chicago police confirmed for us they do have a person of interest in this case and say they are trying to locate and interview that person.
Wag! provided the following statement:
"We provided the Begolli’s a full refund for their boarding services and a reimbursement for their locksmith expenses. In addition, we've suspended the walker in question from doing business on our platform.
At the core of our platform is the trust and safety of the entire Wag! community. This process includes robust background checks on all independent contractors who serve as walkers and sitters.
Every day, walkers and sitters on the Wag! platform successfully complete thousands of services for pets across the U.S. In the rare instance when an incident occurs, we work with all affected parties to resolve their concerns."