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November 20, 2013

Charges pending after stolen beagle returned

METHUEN — An older couple is accused of stealing a beagle named Sophie from the MSPCA at Nevins Farms on Saturday and then returning her yesterday morning.

Methuen police have not released the couple’s name but said they will be charged with larceny.

Sophie was taken at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday by the couple, who appear to be in their sixties. Surveillance video from Nevins Farm’s recently installed video monitoring system shows them standing in the adoption center lobby before the male, wearing a white jacket over black slacks, is seen exiting the rear door with Sophie.

They are then filmed getting into a newer model silver Jeep Liberty and driving off with the dog.

Police believe the media attention given to the case is what made the couple return Sophie yesterday.

Sophie weighs about 40 pounds, is mostly white with a brown face and has black fur covering much of her back.

This is 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 was also stolen on April 26 and is still missing.

“It’s possible that these are the people who have made previous attempts at stealing a beagle from our facility. They clearly did their homework and knew the layout of the adoption center and how to escape with a dog without being seen by staff,” Director of Nevins Farms Mike Keiley said in a statement issued before the couple returned Sophie yesterday morning.

The dog is well and is under close watch by the shelter staff.

Keiley said he is grateful for the beagle’s safe return.

“We are very glad to have Sophie back in our care and grateful that she is well. We extend our thanks to the Methuen Police Department for their dedication to finding those responsible. And as the criminal case moves forward our focus will be on finding the perfect forever home for Sophie,” Keiley said.

Anyone interested in providing Sophie with a permanent home can contact Keiley at mkeiley@mspca.org.

Follow Sara Brown on Twitter @Sara_Brown_Trib. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

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