Owner reunited with puppy following car theft

Billy the puppy and owner Barry Riley have been reunited after Barry's car with Billy inside was stolen. Photo: Supplied.

A puppy which was taken by a car thief when they stole its owner’s vehicle has been reunited with its family after being spotted by children wandering in a field.

Billy, a five-month-old labrador puppy, had been missing since August 5 when its owner’s car was stolen from outside a Bay of Plenty motel.

Lawnmower Barry Riley was tidying up the lawns of Tauranga’s Academy Motor Inn on August 5 when a car thief made off with the work vehicle his puppy was sitting in.

A distraught Barry enlisted the help of police and Tauranga City Council, while his family and the motel owner, Caroline Driessens, called out to the local community to help in the search.

A woman in Matapihi contacted the family on August 6 to say her children had seen the dog, Caroline says.

“He was wandering around in Matapihi. A lady and her kids recognised him and so contacted the police saying they had him safe. He’s now been picked up by Barry’s son and they’ve taken him back to Barry, who is so happy.”

The dog was in a car that was stolen in Tauranga. The vehicle is still missing. Photo: Supplied.

The children’s mother said they found Billy in a field and brought him to their house to give him water.

”All credit to the kids, as they recognised him and were able to put him on a lead,” she said.

Barry was so relieved that Billy was found and thanked the community for their help.

“I think half of Tauranga has been looking for Billy and we are so grateful,” Riley told Stuff.

The vehicle, a light blue Hyundai Santa Fe 2006 with black wheels and black bonnet, registration BGF 836, is still missing.

The theft happened when a man unhooked Riley’s trailer and leapt into the car and drove off with Billy still inside.

A witness called the mobile number on the trailer to check if everything was all right, thinking she was speaking to Barry. However, it was the car thief who answered the phone and then hung up.

Since then the car was tracked on CCTV driving towards Greerton and turning down 21st Avenue by Tauranga Hospital. Someone else reported seeing the vehicle later that evening near Bayfair.

Anyone who sees the vehicle should contact police directly.

Annemarie Quill/Stuff

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Posted on 08-08-2022 14:43 | By morepork

Good on yer, Mate! I agree it was great to see the dog recovered, and good news stories are very welcome in these dark times.


Posted on 08-08-2022 14:40 | By morepork

I hear you and what you said is undeniable. But don’t run away with the idea that we are all going to Hell in a handcart... The majority of Kiwis are decent people. (You notice this most when you return after an extended stay overseas...) Yes, there are some mongrels, but they are in every society. There will ALWAYS be people who want the easy road and the shortcuts and don’t give a damn for anyone other than themselves. There is kindness, goodwill, generosity, and a fierce sense of fair play here, as well as the nonsense. You have no need to be shamed by a minority. You are one of the "good guys" and you should recognize that you are far from alone. "Nihil illegitimae carborundum" (Don’t let the bastards grind you down... :-))

It seems...

Posted on 07-08-2022 13:09 | By morepork

..that lawnmowing guys often take their dogs with them. My guy’s dog and I get on famously and he comes to the door when the truck arrives, specifically to say: "Hello...". The only saving thing about this crime is that the dog wasn’t harmed. But when you consider all the anguish and worry this idiot caused by his petty theft, it makes it worse than simple car conversion (and that is bad enough). I hope that the Judge will consider that aspect when sentencing.


Posted on 06-08-2022 22:50 | By Johnney

There are some right mongrels out there helping themselves to things that aren’t theirs. People busting their guts to get ahead, all to be undone by some low life who just don’t give a damn. Things just get worse. Not proud to be a Kiwi at the moment.


Posted on 06-08-2022 20:29 | By Bruja

A wonderful, happy news story!!! Sooooo happy for Billy and his family. Excellent spotting kids and ohhhhhhh the joy of having something pleasant to read for once!!! Fabulous xo

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