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Woman Says Pet Sitters Hired Through Held Party, Stole Car And Belongings

GLENVIEW, Ill. (CBS) -- Pooch sitting turned into party hosting in Glenview recently – as in a big party where the pet owner's car ended up getting involved in a police chase.

As CBS 2's Chris Tye reported, advertises trustworthy and caring "sitters" for pets.

"I am still in shock," said Margaret Leonard.

Margaret's most recent sitter – for her two Shih Tzu dogs, Bigera and Mazzi; and her two cats, Cashew and Ratagas – was not as advertised.

"I would never give permission for someone else to come in my house with a sitter, and then obviously ruin the house, and steal the car and have a party," Leonard said.

But that was exactly what happened. Leonard's kitchen was ground zero for a party she never approved – with alcohol and drug use involved. Her closets were ransacked, and she said thousands of dollars in belongings were taken.

As for the animals, Leonard said: "Feces everywhere – they had totally not cared for them."

And one of those partygoers decided to grab the keys to Leonard's Volkswagen Jetta. He hopped in the car and started a joy ride that ended with a police chase.

On Monday night, police in Glenview were still looking for the car thief who dumped the vehicle and ran from the flat-tired car.

Leonard said she did not know how Rover does background checks on their people. So CBS 2 dug in.

Rover offers basic and enhanced checks on sitters, depending on customers' needs.

They both screen out those on sex offender and terror watch lists, as well as crimes related to animal cruelty, theft, or violent crime.

"Rover's response has been very cold," Leonard said.

The company reimbursed all costs, but Margaret said they were unresponsive in the hours after learning what happened.

"These are the loves of my life," Leonard said of her pets.

And they were loves left in filth, as a pet-care company was left with tough questions to answer. told CBS 2 on Monday that "they've removed the sitter from their site".

The company further said, "They're willing to help law enforcement in any investigation." They called Leonard's experience, "nowhere near" a typical customer experience.

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