A stolen Yorkie is back safely with her family thanks to an Iraq war veteran who used his expertise to track down the suspected thieves.
Richard Machamer is a United States Marine Corps veteran. When he learned that Raquel Witherspoon had her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Avery, stolen from outside her home in broad daylight he wanted to help.
After Winterspoon had posted flyers and released doorbell camera video asking for help in finding her stolen dog she began receiving text messages demanding $1,200 for Avery’s return. She also received a video of that appeared to show Avery locked in a cage.
Winterspoon’s doorbell cam footage showed two people taking Avery from outside of his home. One person walked over to Avery and appeared to offer treats. Another figure then appeared and they walked away with Avery.
Machamer reached out to Winterspoon offering to help after he saw her flyer on a news story about the stolen dog.
Using his skills in Marine intelligence training he set to work trying to track down the dognappers. He told “Good Morning America” that ran the dognapper’s phone number through an online database hoping to extract geolocation data from the photos and video that they had sent to Winterspoon. But he had no luck.
Then he used a clever trick.
“I Hail Mary’d it and put the dognappers’ phone number into my personal phone, which is connected to my Instagram account,” Machamer explained to GMA. “Three to four hours later – Instagram recommended that I follow an account associated with that phone number.”
From there, he found a person who resembled the person in the doorcam video. Police have since arrested a 16-year-old in the theft and returned Avery to his family.
Witherspoon later told ABC News affiliate WJLA how much Avery means to her family, “[H]e’s a family member, he’s my grandson and that’s her son – we had him for three years, he means the world to us.”