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December 20, 2013

Alleged dognappers charged with larceny

METHUEN — A Lawrence couple alleged to be beagle burglars received a summons for stealing a dog from MSPCA’s Nevins Farm shelter in November, police said.

Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said he could not release their names until they are arraigned on Jan. 10 in Lawrence District Court, however.

The couple, in their 60s, is charged with larceny of property greater than $250.

Sophie, a 40-pound beagle, was taken at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 from the MSPCA.

Surveillance video showed the couple in the adoption center lobby before the man left out the rear door with Sophie. They got into a silver Jeep Liberty and drove off.

They returned the purloined pooch on Tuesday, though, possibly due to the heavy media coverage that included images of them in the adoption center that followed Sohpie’s disappearance.

The coverage led to another boost for Sophie: She was adopted.

“The family was terrific,” said Heather Roberts, a spokeswoman for Nevins Farm. “They’ve already sent photos of Sophie relaxing.”

Sophie was the third beagle that has been stolen from Nevins Farms this year. Pete was stolen from the MSPCA on April 12 and was later returned. Buffy also was stolen on April 26, but is still missing.

Michael Keiley, director of the adoption center, said last month the couple likely did their homework, learning the layout of the adoption center and figuring out how to make off with the dog unnoticed by the staff.

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