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The Uber Eats driver is still wanted in a Brooklyn dog robbery — despite the pup’s return

An Uber Eats driver is wanted by police for allegedly running off with a Brooklyn woman’s pooch – only to return the pup on Tuesday after a bizarre three-day saga.

Police are now trying to detain the driver after he allegedly paid someone else to return Ella, a cuddly 6-month-old Cocker Spaniel Poodle mix.

The drama began when dog owner Melanie Polanco, 22, first noticed Ella was missing around 5:40pm on Saturday after getting a pizza delivery from Uber Eats – and saw the perpetrator on surveillance footage of her dog walked away.

“I was devastated,” she said. “My heart sank. My stomach turned.”

She said Ella probably slipped out of the Flatbush apartment when she left the door open briefly.

Her plight was reported by WPIX-TV on Monday, including footage of the theft showing a man walking out of the building with Ella into a waiting vehicle.

Ella, a six month old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix
Meet Ella, a six-month-old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix valued at $5,000.
Gregory P. Mango
Ella, a six month old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix
The puppy’s owner, Melanie Polanco, noted on surveillance footage that her Uber Eats driver drove away with Ella.
Gregory P. Mango

Then on Tuesday morning, a devastated Polanco said she received an unexpected call from the driver, who she believes was identified only as Michael.

“He said, ‘I saw myself on TV this morning,'” Polanco told the Post of the call. “‘I didn’t steal your dog. I thought she was lost. I gave it to a neighbor.’ I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?

“We saw you put Ella in your car and drove away,” she said. “He said, ‘Oh, yeah. But no. I am not.’ I was like, ‘Just give me Ella back. That’s all I’m worried about.’”

An Uber Eats driver is wanted by police for allegedly running off with a Brooklyn woman's pooch - only to return the pup on Tuesday after a bizarre three-day saga.
Surveillance footage shows the suspect getting into the elevator with Ella.
Gregory P. Mango
An Uber Eats driver is wanted by police for allegedly running off with a Brooklyn woman's pooch - only to return the pup on Tuesday after a bizarre three-day saga.
Cops set to arrest driver after he allegedly paid someone to return Ella.
Gregory P. Mango
Police are now trying to detain the driver after he allegedly paid someone else to return Ella, a cuddly 6-month-old Cocker Spaniel Poodle mix.
The footage shows the driver walking to his car with Ella.
Gregory P. Mango

Around 12:15pm Tuesday, a man showed up with Ella and was quickly snapped up by waiting cops – but said he was only paid to drop off the hot dog.

“I was happy,” Polanco said. “I got my baby back. I’m happy, the family is happy, we all got our family member back. You know she’s our baby. She’s the youngest, six months.”

Police said they are now looking for the driver and will put up a wanted poster.

A spokeswoman for Uber said in an email on Tuesday that the driver was placed under house arrest while they investigated the alleged robbery.

Ella, a six month old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix and her owner
The dog napper, Michael claims he didn’t steal the dog, he thought Ella was lost.
Gregory P. Mango

“What the customer has reported is deeply disturbing and unacceptable,” the email said. “We are further investigating this and have removed this driver’s access to the platform. We stand ready to assist law enforcement in their investigation.”

But the email added: “We are making every attempt to get in touch with the driver and have removed the driver’s access to the app pending the investigation.”

Polanco said she just wants the suspected dog-napper arrested.

“I mean, it’s worth more than $5,000,” she said. “So it’s a grand theft, a stolen item.”

https://nypost.com/2022/03/08/uber-eats-driver-still-sought-in-brooklyn-dog-heist-despite-pups-return/ The Uber Eats driver is still wanted in a Brooklyn dog robbery — despite the pup’s return

JACLYN DIAZ

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