Woman who allegedly stole dog from dying man arrested; dog reunited with family

In this surveillance still, the suspect is seen leading the dog away. The dog's owner had suffered a seizure, and the woman reportedly took the dog while first responders were treating him. (Photo: Longmont Police Dept.)
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LONGMONT, Colo. (KKTV) - A grieving family was pleading for the safe return of their stolen dog. A Colorado police department answered their call for help.

Longmont Deputy Police Chief Jeff Satur was walking down Main Street when he spotted the missing pup.

"He stood out," Satur told sister station KCNC. "I was like, 'There he is!'"

Sampson was with his 59-year-owner at a 7-Eleven on that same street in Longmont Tuesday when the owner collapsed and suffered a seizure. Robert Corbey's family says he had been feeling sick all day but decided to take his beloved companion for a walk to the nearby convenience store.

As first responders tried to save Corbey's life, surveillance video shows a woman walk up and take Sampson.

Corbey later died at the hospital. The Longmont Police Department issued a public plea to the person who had Sampson.

"Public Safety staff does not know what the purpose was in removing this dog, but we ask that you please return their dog to the Longmont Police Department, 225 Kimbark, in Longmont. [Relatives] not only lost a treasured family member but are also missing his companion."

Hours later, Satur spotted Sampson with a couple.

“They knew the dog was missing,” Satur said. “They were like, ‘Here, take the dog.'”

The couple told the deputy chief a woman -- likely the same one in the surveillance video -- had handed Sampson over to them earlier. The male half of the couple said he fed the dog and gave him a bath.

Corbey's family reunited with his pup around 3 p.m.

"Kisses all around to the large group of family that came to pick Sampson up," police wrote on Facebook. "He was thrilled to see them.

"It feels like we have a piece of my uncle having Sampson back," Corbey's niece Kelly Pleffner told KCNC. "We were just so worried. We are so grateful to have him back."

Police announced Thursday they located the suspect while investigating an early morning auto theft. While investigating the car theft, the suspect was identified as also being the suspect in the dognapping case. Court papers obtained by KCNC state that during the arrest, the woman kicked two officers and urinated inside the patrol vehicle.

The woman has been identified by police as Melody Mellon, 30.

Click to view full image (Photo courtesy Longmont Police Dept.)
Click for the full image (Photo courtesy Longmont Police Dept.)