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NYC Couple's Dog Found Safe After Being Stolen By Wag App Dog Walker, Suspect Arrested

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A dog who went missing in Battery Park is back home with his family Friday.

That family claims a dog walker on the "Wag" app broke inside their apartment and kidnapped their pet.

CBS2's Christina Fan reports that it took a team effort from police, private detectives, and even actress Olivia Munn to crack the case.

Max and Sophie Troper were both stressed out, on their phones, hunting down the man, seen in surveillance pictures, stealing their dog from their home.

"Someone walked into our apartment with the intent to take him, just him, no other valuables," Max Troper said.

The couple had been a loyal user of Wag, a dog walking company, and paid to have someone walk Benny – their Shorkie mix, every day.

On Thursday, their original walker had to cancel, so a second walker was scheduled. When that walker came to get Benny, he realized the dog was missing.

"It was just like a moment you can't explain, you just stop everything and you're like 'what the hell has happened here?'" Troper said.

The Tropers rushed home and watched the building's surveillance video.

Alleged Wag App employee seen stealing the Tropers' dog Benny. (Credit: CBS2)

It showed this man leaving The Gateway around 11 a.m. with Benny in his arms.

The Tropers say police have since identified that suspect as the original walker who canceled Friday morning.

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"We always thought highly of all the walkers, but clearly there is someone out there."

The owners say their door key is in a lock box and only dog walkers on Wag had access to the pass code.

Wag told CBS2 all their applicants are screened through a background check and also have to complete an online test covering dog safety.

"We thought that we could trust them, clearly you can't," Sophie Troper said.

The company also told CBS2 they hired a private investigator to track down Benny. Even one of their investors, actress Olivia Munn, messaged the couple to help.

The NYPD helps reunite the Tropers with Benny on June 14, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

By Friday evening, there was a happy reunion as Benny was found safe. The couple said Benny appears to be doing well and was found by authorities at the suspect's home. The NYPD later said 22-year-old Christian Madriaga has been now charged with burglary.

The Tropers said now that Benny's found, they are never using the app again.

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