Mesa dog breeder Beth Kaufman took precautions Wednesday when she showed her pedigreed pit bull puppies to a potential buyer.
She met the man at a public place — a PetSmart parking lot near U.S. 60 and Stapley Drive — and she conducted pre-interviews to make sure the man could provide a nice home for the animals.
“I’m very selective about the people I sell to,” she said Thursday.
The man ended up buying one pit bull for $500. But while Kaufman was closing the deal, she said two young males lingering near her vehicle took two more puppies and ran.
She said she chased the thieves until they entered a gold 1998 four-door Nissan Altima driven by a young blonde woman and left the area.
Kaufman said she could not get the license plate number because a white cloth had been draped over the bumper.
“These dogs are my babies,” she said. “They should be in the hands of people who will love them and take care of them. Now I don’t know who has them.”
Mesa detective Jerry Gissel said Thursday that police have opened an investigation into the theft.
Kaufman said the female pit bulls, Aka and Ipo, are registered with the United Kennel Club and have 254 documented ancestors dating back seven generations.
She said she will pay $500 for the safe return of both dogs.
“I’ve lost sleep,” she said. “I can’t eat.”
She said she met the legitimate buyer at a public place because other dog breeders in the Valley have been attacked in their homes by people posing as buyers and lost all their animals.