Dognappers violently punched a 60-year-old woman to the ground from behind and stole her beloved pet pooch while she was out on a walk with it.
Staffordshire bull terrier Archie and his owner were heading towards a park near to Burdett Road, Mile End, in Tower Hamlets, east London, at around 5pm on Sunday, May 2, when two men suddenly attacked the owner from behind and stole the dog.
The rescue dog was said to have been taken off his lead and then bundled into a white van, with the suspects, believed to be in their 30s, fleeing the scene.
His owner informed the police and has launched a desperate appeal to be reunited with her pet adding: "No questions asked, reward for safe return", the Mirror reports.
Taking to Facebook the appeal said: "Owner punched to the ground by two white, well-built males, Archies put in a van approx 5pm Locksley Park, E14."
A friend, also in her 60s said the owner was left on the floor after the assault.
The pal told the Mirror: "They didn't say anything. They came quietly, quickly from behind and pushed her forcefully.
"She hurt her back. She is shaking violently. She is not eating or drinking from what I can see.
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"All she wants is Archie home."
The friend, who requested that she and Archie's owner remain anonymous, added: "She walked the streets all night in the hope that these a***holes might have dumped him."
Archie, who is microchipped and neutered, was adopted from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home six years ago.
He is brindle, black and white in colour.
It is not known why the woman and Archie were targeted, but dog thefts appear to have skyrocketed during the Covid pandemic and lockdowns.
Estimated thefts of pets have risen by a staggering 250%, with criminal gangs involved in some dognappings.
The friend of Archie's owner said: "I think from a distance Archie looks a young dog, and Staffies are popular dogs.
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"But once they get a good look at him they will realise he is actually an old dog.
"We’re hoping that he is dropped at a vets or somewhere and he will be recovered quickly.
"He has been with this family for six years. His family is in pieces, they are not sleeping.
"I would think the dog is not sleeping.
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"We would appeal to you to bring this dog home and end this pain."
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "Police were called at approximately 5.05pm on Sunday, May 2 to reports of a theft in Norbiton Road, E14.
"Officers attended and it was reported a woman was pushed to the floor by two men who stole her dog.
"She received minor injuries. Enquiries are ongoing. No arrests have been made."
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