A woman and her dog were reunited Wednesday after he was stolen along with her SUV from outside of her Fort Worth apartment.
Makenzie Koch said she loaded her dog Riggins and some things into her Chevrolet Tahoe and briefly left the vehicle running to go lock her front door.
When she turned around, Koch said, she said she saw a man was getting into the driver's seat of her SUV. She said she yelled and tried to stop him, but that he pulled up onto the sidewalk and drove away with both her dog and her phone leaving her with no immediate way to call for help.
"Locked my front door and turned around to see a random guy getting in the driver’s seat of my car," said Koch. "I’m trying to cause a scene just to try to buy some kind of time and distraction so someone could come help me."
Koch said it wasn't long before she found her phone on the ground near the TCU campus. She said she then decided to try to use social media to help find her missing dog.
Over the next 18 hours, she said she continued searching for Riggins without any luck. While taking a quick break at home for a bite to eat and a fresh change of clothes, Koch started to get emotional.
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Five minutes after building herself back up, she said she got a call from an unknown number that turned out to be a Grand Prairie police officer asking if she had a dog named Riggins.
Koch said she dropped to her knees and began crying when police told her they were looking right at both her dog and her SUV.
"That’s probably the scariest moment is when you’re looking at your dog through the back window while some guy is about to drive off with him," she said.
Koch's friend Megan, who drove her to meet up with police and take custody of her dog, recorded a video of the reunion that was later shared on Instagram.
During a news conference Thursday afternoon, police said they found the dog and SUV after being called about an unattended vehicle.
Officers Gray and Monroe were dispatched to the scene and informed the vehicle had been reported stolen. The officers arrived at the location and confirmed the vehicle was unattended, running, and unlocked. When they opened the door they learned the air conditioner was going full blast and that a dog was inside.
"Shortly after clearing it, ol' Riggins here made himself known by barking his head off," Gray said. "He was fairly ornery at first but once we warmed up to each other and gave him some french fries from Raising Cane's he was just fine after that."
Police said the vehicle had apparently been there, with the engine running, for several hours.
Instead of turning the dog over to animal control, they called Makenzie's phone number listed on Riggins' collar.
"The right thing to do at the time was to try and get the vehicle as well as her dog, especially, back to her as quickly as possible. I didn't really see the good in having animal control coming to pick him up or anything like that," Gray said. "It was the right thing to do."
Koch thanked the members of the Fort Worth community, some she said she didn't even know, who supported her with phone calls, hanging "missing dog" flyers and helping her look for Riggins.
"I went from thinking all humanity was terrible and there were no good people to thinking the world has a lot of really, really good people," Koch said Thursday afternoon.
No arrests have been made in connection with the theft of the vehicle.