Deputies: Man steals rare $17K dog from Florida breeder, heads to Michigan

A 26-year-old man stole a rare miniature schnauzer worth $17,000 from a breeder for whom he worked and took the dog with him to Michigan, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators said Jacob Parker Lauer admitted to stealing the breeding dog, named Asiago, from Vera Clark on May 13 before moving to Highland, Michigan.

Clark, a dog breeder, said Lauer lived in a trailer behind her home and worked for her, caring for puppies, an arrest report said.

The kennel manager notified Clark that Lauer and his husband had not turned up for their shifts and had sent a text message, saying they were leaving and not returning because they were fed up with how they were being treated by Clark, the report said.

The report said Clark went to the trailer and saw that the men, their belongings, their car and the dog were gone.

Clark asked a deputy to look at the trailer, which he described as being "impeccably clean," the report said.

"Nothing was out of order. Nothing was damaged," the deputy said in the report. "In fact, the men had stripped the bed and made sure the toilet was flushed."

Clark was reunited with her dog Aug. 11.

She said Thursday that the reunion brought her great joy.

"When he came here, it was like Christmas. It was like 10 Christmases," Clark said. "The dog is not just a dog. It's a family member, and to many people, it's their child. ... Your heart is ripped into a thousand pieces."

She said the allegations against Lauer were surprising because she was so close to him.

"It was a shock to us because we really depended (on him.) We trusted him," Clark said. "I even included him in my trust."

Lauer was charged with grand theft. He was released from the Seminole County Jail on Thursday after paying bail.

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