WEST TOWN — If thieves hadn't smashed the windows of a truck to unwittingly save a German shepherd stuck inside, the owner of a West Town pub said he would have broken in himself.
Declan Morgan, owner of Irish Nobleman Pub, 1367 W. Erie St., said he went to his bar Monday and saw the man standing outside and staring at his car that had just been broken into. Morgan went out to talk to the man, and when he learned of the crime, he checked the footage from a security camera perched on the building across from the pub, which Morgan also owns.
The camera caught everything.
In the video, a time stamp places the incident around 9:30 a.m. Monday when the truck parks and its driver leaves. A few minutes later, a group of four men appear and walk past the truck.
Soon after, they circle back to the truck. One man hands the other a rock, which he throws at the truck's window, smashing it.
Two men from the group then run up to the window and snatch a laptop from inside the car before walking away.
About an hour later at 10:30 a.m., the truck's owner returns to find broken glass and a smashed mirror. He soon lets the dog out of the car, who can be seen panting and later lying on the sidewalk.
"I truly believe that if they didn't break the window, the dog would have died," Morgan said. "I asked the guy why he left his dog in the car. He said he thought he parked in the shade."
Morgan said his pub and the building he owns across the street are equipped with multiple cameras because of the break-ins plaguing the area. Not long ago, Morgan said he saw the same group of men who broke into the car Monday, and, once he got their attention, he pointed to the cameras. A few days later, the cameras were pelted with eggs, he said.
"We see them every day," he said of the group.
Morgan said he posted the video to various social media pages out of responsibility to the community. He said the pub is active in the neighborhood watch and had posted it to a neighborhood page so neighbors could possibly help identify the men responsible.
The posts had received about 10,000 hits, Morgan said, and the video led his phone to ring constantly Wednesday with calls from media across the country.
Morgan said he shared the video with police, but officers told him that they couldn't do much without a complaint from the car owner.
According to the National Weather Service, the heat index for 9:51 a.m. on Monday was about 82 degrees.
The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that when temperatures outside a vehicle are in the 80-degree range, after an hour the vehicle's inside can be as hot as 125 degrees, leading to risk for heatstroke in pets.
"If I would have seen the car [with the dog], I probably would have smashed [the window]," Morgan said.
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