A car theft at a busy Long Beach shopping center this week has turned into a tragedy for a family.
Jodi Thompson said the car thief not only drove off with the family's vehicle but also their beloved Sandy, a white and tan Chihuahua mix who helps keep her daughter's medical condition at bay.
Thompson said her 19-year-old daughter, Emily, suffered from nasopharyngitis and tonsil hypertrophy, a condition that causes her tonsils to swell up when she is feeling stress or anxious.
"She has to go on heavy medication to bring the tonsils down," Thompson said. "So you can imagine the whirlwind we were in when we discovered the tragedy."
Thompson said her daughter would outgrow the condition but in the meantime she needed her cherished dog.
"He protects her 24 hours a day," Thompson said. "He keeps her stress levels down."
The family car has since been recovered by police, but Thompson said Sandy was still missing and they wanted the public to help locate him.
Sandy was last seen wearing a metal-chain-type collar but did not have an identification tag or ID chip.
Animal Care Services was notified and also was looking for the dog.
Long Beach Police said the car theft occurred Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. near the intersection of Cherry Avenue and 68th Street.
Thompson said she and her daughter had gone to Target to pick up medication at the store's pharmacy.
Investigators said surveillance cameras captured a white, full-sized, extended-cab construction truck parking next to Thompson's vehicle.
Shortly after, a person is seen getting out of the white truck and into Thompson's vehicle.
The thief then drives off the parking lot with the white construction truck trailing behind.
Police are looking for anyone who may know the whereabouts of the construction truck or the dog.
Anyone with information can call Long Beach police at (562) 570-7260.