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Harpo the bulldog puppy is dognapped at gunpoint -- and rescued

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Harpo is safe.  The English bulldog puppy is back at home after being dognapped at gunpoint in an Oregon shopping center parking lot.

It all started last week when Jim and Pat Steele got a call from someone interested in buying two of their pups.  The couple sell AKC-registered dogs from their Oregon City, Ore., kennels.

"The arrangement was to meet the person at the Clackamas Town Center parking lot," Sgt. Adam Phillips, public information officer with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, told the Los Angeles Times in an interview Wednesday.

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On Friday, the Steeles were in their car at the mall parking lot when they were approached by a man they thought had come to buy their two purebred puppies for a total of $2,000.

The man briefly eyed the pups, Phillips said, then went back to his car and returned with a handgun, according to Phillips: "He said, 'Give me your wallet, your watches, your cellphones.' "

But Jim Steele decided that's not how it was going to go down.  The couple told the Oregonian that the man said he was not afraid to shoot them -- which "really pushed a button for my husband," Pat Steele said.

PHOTOS: Harpo found in a suitcase

Steele grabbed the man's arm, pushing the gun away. The gunman then grabbed 2-month-old Harpo.  The other puppy, Rambo, was on Pat Steele's lap.  She leaned over the dog to protect it from getting nabbed.

"The suspect, with just the dog, jumped into a car driven by a second person," Phillips said.

The Steeles wheeled out after them -- a brief pursuit that, Phillips said, they later acknowledged "wasn't the smartest thing to do."  The couple then called 911 from the side of the road.

A tip led police to a Vancouver, Wash., apartment on Sunday morning. Because of the potential for weapons, a SWAT team set up a containment area before delivering a search warrant. A three-hour standoff followed, according to a Vancouver police news release, but eventually 23-year-old Jajuane Deshaen Etheridge surrendered.

The English bulldog puppy reportedly was found inside a closed suitcase -- but unharmed.  Etheridge was booked on possession of stolen property. 

And Harpo got to go home.

Phillips said that although Etheridge is suspected of being involved in the incident, he is not believed to be the same man who brandished the gun at the Steeles.  Authorities are still searching for that suspect, he said, and the investigation is ongoing.

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