A suspect who is apparently a dog lover stole a car in Rohnert Park Friday but returned the Labrador Retriever inside it, California Highway Patrol officials said Saturday.
The tail — or, rather, tale — began when a driver left his VW Passat running with his yellow Lab inside when he went into the Rohnert Park Goodwill Friday afternoon, the CHP said.
While the dog owner was in the Goodwill dropping off items, a man jumped into the running car and drove away, according to police.
When the driver got home, he found his dog in his garage, the CHP said.
Police surmise that the suspect realized the dog was in the car, drove to the owner's house and, using the garage door opener in the car, left the dog in the garage.
Around 3:40 p.m. the dog owner, who was out driving another vehicle, spotted his stolen VW on Stony Point Road near Washoe House, a historic roadhouse in Sonoma County located west of Cotati, the CHP said.
The owner notified police, and officers tried to make an enforcement stop, but the suspect fled, the CHP said.
The suspect crashed the car off Stony Point Road near state Highway 116, the CHP said.
CHP officers and Sonoma County sheriff's deputies searched the area and the CHP found the suspect around 4:20 p.m., according to the CHP.
Joshua Hathaway, 39, of Santa Rosa, was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony evasion, resisting arrest and vehicle arrest, the CHP said.