CLEVELAND -- A suburban Cleveland man was reunited with his beloved dog after the pet was taken by a gunman during a carjacking.
"Hey you, there you are!" said Mike Reed as his miniature schnauzer, Franz, sprinted toward him and jumped into his arms.
The friendly little dog was caught in the middle of a drama that played out over the Thanksgiving holiday. He was clearly relieved to be back in the protective arms of his owner, who said he felt like he was reunited with his son.
"I almost want to cry because I never thought I would see my little guy again. He's everything to me,” Reed said.
Franz was sitting in a car on Wednesday night, Nov. 27 while Reed went inside the Cleveland Deli and Beverage Center at West 150th Street and Puritas Avenue. When Reed came outside, he was confronted by a gunman, who demanded his wallet and the keys to the car.
The suspect then fled with Franz still in the back seat. When Cleveland police arrived at the scene, the only thing Reed could think about was finding his dog.
"I was worried that he was dumped. We put flyers out everywhere. We got tons of people on social media helping us out,” Reed said. "As cold as it was -- it was like, 20 degrees outside. The poor guy would have froze. All I could think about was him hiding under a porch or something like that. It was terrible."
Investigators said it was good police work that led to the recovery of Franz. Officers tracked a GPS inside the stolen car to East Cleveland, where the man behind the wheel was arrested.
He eventually admitted that he decided to keep the dog for himself and showed police where he had been hiding Franz.
Donte Thomas, 23, of Cleveland, was charged with aggravated robbery and grand theft auto.
Reed credited police with making sure that Franz was safely returned home.
"They kept up the hard work, and East Cleveland working together with Cleveland together they made this happen. They really did and I'm so grateful for them,” he said.
As Reed clung to Franz, he told WJW that he planned to have a microchip implanted in the dog, so that he never loses track of him again.