Talk about a Shih Tzu thing to do.
Cops say they’ve nabbed two suspects responsible for looting four homes across Mill Basin, including an E. 54th Street burglary in which the alleged crooks made off with a woman’s Shih Tzu, the whereabouts of which remain unknown.
Justin Jackson, 20, allegedly copped to the crime spree that began on Jan. 9, saying that he manned the crew’s getaway van, while Matthew Bryan and another accomplice broke down doors and looted homes, according to a spokesman for District Attorney Charles Hynes.
Bryan, however, told the same story in reverse, saying Jackson and their associate ransacked the victims’ properties, while he stayed in the van.
Either way, the suspects are facing the same burglary rap, which begins with a E. 54th Street home between avenues M and N on Jan. 9, when the suspects allegedly nabbed Marion Callender’s Shih Tzu puppy.
Callender’s husband told police that he left his home for work at 2:45 am, and returned at 10 am to find his front door busted in, and his wife’s beloved pooch dognapped.
The stolen pup, a four-month-old Shih Tzu named Spirit, has not been returned to its broken-hearted owner, according to Callender.
“I figured they sold him. My kid paid $2,000 for the dog and he was a baby, only four months old. So, they wouldn’t have had a hard time selling him,” said Callender.
Callender’s son bought Spirit so his mother wouldn’t be lonely while her husband, who works a night shift, was away at work.
Now, she just hopes that whoever has the puppy treats him like part of the family.
“I believed I was going to get the dog back for a long time, but now I realize I’m probably not going to, and I just pray to God that whoever has him takes good care of him,” said Callender. “But I’ve cried my last tear over him.”
The suspects are being charged with three additional burglaries across Mill Basin, on E. 52nd, E. 54th, and E. 58th streets.
During each burglary, the suspects allegedly maintained their modus operandi of breaking through the victims’ front door, before grabbing their valuables and fleeing, according to a spokesman for Hynes.
Fortunately, Callender’s dog was the only instance of puppy pilfering by the suspects, although that information is unlikely to bring much comfort to the broken-hearted dog lover.
“He was very attached to me and I loved that,” said Callender.
The defense attorney representing Jackson declined to comment.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn