Meeko, the stolen San Jose puppy who grabbed headlines this week after being stolen from a San Jose home, has been found.
NBC Bay Area was the first to report on Thursday that the 6-month-old pup was found in a Target parking lot in town of Los Banos.
The dog was brought back to San Jose Thursday afternoon. His family was quick to welcome him back to the fold. The youngest child in the family, a little girl who put up her piggy bank as a reward, did not know her dog had been found. Marissa was delighted when she realized the reason so many television cameras were back in her neighborhood was because of Meeko's return. (photo below)
Here's how the reunion was made possible: A shopper volunteered to take the Yorkie-Shih tzu mix home after he was found in the Target parking lot. That woman, Blanca Del Real, eventually recognized the dog from TV.
Del Real is up for the a $6,000 reward, which was mostly put up by the police and firefighters' unions. The dog was confirmed to be the right one, authorities said, thanks to a chip inserted in its shoulder.
Meeko was stolen Monday, along with a host of electronics, from the Mabanag family on Sharon Drive in San Jose. Marie Mabanag, a teacher in the Oak Grove School District, made a personal appeal to the community to get involved in fighting what she calls a dramatic increase in home burglaries in San Jose.
On Wednesday, Councilman Ash Kalra held a news conference morning to announce the reward for return of the stolen items and the puppy and highlight a growing controversy in the city over whether there are enough police officers to battle rising crime rates in the city.