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Dallas sanitation workers under investigation after family claims dognapping

Family says Dallas sanitation workers "dognapped" their pet
Family says Dallas sanitation workers "dognapped" their pet 03:19

DALLAS – Less than six minutes of surveillance video from a Dallas sanitation truck is part of an investigation into two sanitation workers accused of stealing a family's dog last month.

Jasmine Lopez and her family have four dogs. Two are exotic bullies named, Macho and Rocco. On March 19, she said Rocco got stolen on their trash day.

Lopez said she was in the shower. Her son, Josiah, let their dogs outside.

"He said that he went upstairs to get dressed. He did hear the trash truck blow," Lopez said. "When he looked out there, he said it was a pink lady that was laughing. So I was like, pink lady?"

She said their pets got outside the fence after their other dog, Mercedes, a different breed, knocked the fence open. All of the dogs returned to the yard except Rocco.

The dog's disappearance became distressing to nine-year-old Josiah. His mother said he said she got calls about her son crying at school.

"I have feelings for Rocco. Rocco's like the best dog in the house," Josiah said.

Hurt by her son's emotional state, Lopez said she drove around her neighborhood, describing Rocco and asking people, including the crew of a Dallas sanitation truck if they'd seen him.

"I said, have you guys seen a gray dog? And the guy was like, no, no. But the lady never looked up at me," she said.

According to Lopez, her husband got the dogs. The family had taken to the animals, which were worth up to $5,000 each, sometimes more. Exotic bullies are the product of experimental bully dog breeding.

The mother and wife said a hunch and suspicion about the woman crew member in a pink jacket led her to the sanitation department in Dallas. According to Lopez, she requested video from the truck that made its route through her community.

While she said sanitation officials assured her their employees wouldn't steal a dog on their route, an hour later, a supervisor confirmed her suspicions.

Lopez filed a police report and waited until March 22 to get Rocco back home. She was willing to drop the charges until she saw the video.

Lopez provided the video clips to CBS News Texas. We contacted the city of Dallas, which confirmed that its trucks are equipped with cameras.

Dallas also said, "The City is aware of this incident and has confirmed that the dog was returned to its owner. We are actively conducting a thorough investigation into the matter. The City of Dallas remains committed to maintaining the highest standards of service and ensuring the public's trust. We appreciate the public's understanding and patience as we conduct our investigation. " 

In the video, a female worker talks to someone on a hands-free device.

FEMALE WORKER: "Oh my God. Hey!"

As a male coworker hurries to escape the Lopez dogs, the woman appears intrigued by Rocco. 

FEMALE WORKER: " (Honks truck's horn) Oh my God, baby. I want this damn dog."

The front camera of the truck is in black and white. A side view shows the arm of the woman driving in pink. About 16 seconds after the woman declares she wants the dog, she makes a strong request.

FEMALE WORKER: "HEY! HEY! Put that dog in...gimmie that dog."THAT DOG IN...GIMME THAT DOG!

Her male coworker whistles for a dog, and he puts it inside the truck cab.

"My son calls it dog napping. He basically dognapped my baby. So it makes me more like, why would you steal somebody's dog?" Lopez said.

The woman in the video says, "I got me a dog, bro." She asks the person on the phone to meet her.

Dallas would not tell CBS News Texas if they received additional complaints on the truck route and if the city's investigation covers other potential victims. They would not confirm if the workers still work for the city.

No arrests have been made in connection to the case, so CBS News Texas is withholding the names of the employees. The truck driver has not responded to an inquiry about the case.

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