A young woman from Southern California is “ecstatic” to have her puppy back in her arms after he was stolen from her yard by a cable company employee this week.
The past 24 hours have been a rollercoaster of emotions for Riverside local Melissa Cortez, who discovered on Monday through home security footage that her 10-month-old pug Andrew had been stolen by the worker from Spectrum, which provides cable television, internet, telephone, and wireless services.
By Tuesday morning, however, after sharing the video on social media, Cortez’s pup was back in her arms — and the employee who took Andrew was fired by the company.
“Words can’t explain how ecstatic I was [to have Andrew home],” she told PEOPLE. “My heart was whole again just seeing his happy little face.”
The surprising ordeal happened on Monday afternoon around 12:30 p.m., Cortez said. While she was out, a Spectrum employee, who was not scheduled to visit Cortez’s home as she is not a customer of the company, stopped outside of her house.
In security footage shared by Cortez on Twitter, the worker can be seen standing outside of his truck across the street before walking over to Cortez’s home. After going out of the shot for a few moments, the worker comes running back with Andrew in hand, hops into his truck, and drives away.
“@GetSpectrum one of your drivers took my dog,” Cortez wrote alongside the surveillance footage.
In a separate clip, which recorded the incident from a different angle, the worker can be seen walking up to Cortez’s backyard gate to open it for the pug before bending down to pick up Andrew.
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The employee then carefully closes the gate and rushes toward his truck with Andrew in tow.
Cortez also tagged several media outlets in hopes to get the word out about her stolen pup.
When Cortez arrived home and realized that Andrew was missing, she said she thought he may have escaped from the yard, despite him being a generally obedient pup.
“He’s typically well-behaved and extremely trusting,” she said of her pet. “[Andrew running away] crossed my mind and for that same reason, I went to the shelter to register him as missing in case he got picked up by someone.”
But then she decided to check the security cameras, where she watched the Spectrum employee steal her beloved pup right out of her fenced-in yard.
“At first, I was distressed and worried about what could’ve happened to him,” Cortez explained. “After I watched the footage, I was angered to see it was a person in a position so many people would trust into their home.”
Cortez then filed a police report with the Riverside Sheriff’s Department as she awaited a response from Spectrum, whom she had called and reached out to on social media.
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Within a couple of hours of sharing the footage, Spectrum responded to Cortez’s tweet and rectified the situation. By Tuesday morning, Cortez said Bob Trumbull, the Senior Director of Corporate Security for Spectrum, had personally returned Andrew.
As for the employee, who has not been identified, Spectrum said in a statement that they have since been fired.
“As part of its support of the Riverside Sheriff’s investigation, Spectrum security has recovered the dog and has returned it to the owner,” a representative for Spectrum told PEOPLE. “The employee involved has been informed that he has been terminated.”
Due to the traumatic incident, Cortez said she now plans to be more careful about future deliveries and visitors in her neighborhood.
“Moving forward, I will definitely have a different perspective and [will] take even more protective measures,” she said. “Whatever it takes… But most importantly, my baby is home safely.”