LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s a cruel case that has people shaking their heads and asking out loud, “What is wrong with people?”
A helpless Yorkie puppy was traded for cocaine in a drug deal Jan. 12. The innocent animal, which weighs only two pounds, was stolen from All About Puppies, a popular pet store located at 7190 Ulmerton Road in Largo.
The cutie was ripped from the cuddling comfort of her sibling that day. She was most certainly scared as the suspect used a rough grip to grab her. It was all caught on camera. A man is seen walking around the store, nervously glancing from side to side, before he picks up the puppy and shoves her down his shirt. The suspect likely didn’t realize the store has surveillance video with footage that’s crisp and clear.
Bridget Royal is the kennel manager at the store and was heartbroken when this happened. “I was disgusted. I ranted on Facebook. I was like, ‘How could someone sell a little puppy for drugs?” Royal told News Channel 8 Tuesday afternoon.
The 9-week-old puppy was used as the cruelest of currency in a drug deal after she was stolen. The Yorkie was driven to the area near Winn Dixie and Dunkin Donuts at 4th Street and 75th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. Moments later, the tiny pup was bartered: Her life for crack.
“I wish every day it would just show up. I mean, even when I come in the morning,” Royal said. “I look for a box. Is there a box with a puppy in it? Just something, you know.”
Royal made two phone calls the day the pup was stolen, one to Largo police and the other to 8 On Your Side. News Channel 8 put the pictures out immediately, and less than a week later, the case was cracked. The cops got their guy.
Police said the suspect is Wayne Junior Barfield. Barfield has a criminal record, according to police. He originally told cops he “disposed” of the dog. But, a tipster told detectives that the Yorkie had been traded.
Barfield is behind bars charged with grand theft, but the heartbreaking question remains.Where is the precious pup, and is she okay? Store managers tell us the puppy has special dietary requirements and needs to be fed every three to four hours so her sugar remains in balance. Otherwise, her health could be at risk.
Here’s the deal, police told News Channel 8. Bring the dog back, and no questions will be asked. Plus, the store is offering a $1,000 reward. The puppy is microchipped, and detectives are hopeful. “We just want the dog back,” a Largo detective said.