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'Grinch' Accused of Swiping Girl's Dog from Grocery Store

By DNAinfo Staff on December 25, 2012 2:16pm

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A "Grinch" ruined Christmas for a 7-year-old girl after allegedly stealing her dog, which was tied up outside a store on Broadway, while she and her family finished their holiday shopping.

Mia Bendrat, her mother, Angie Estrada, and Estrada's boyfriend went in to La Rosa Fine Foods on Broadway between 176th and 177th streets about 10 a.m. Monday morning to buy ingredients for bacalao and pickled bananas. They would usually have someone stay outside with Marley, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but they decided to all go into the store, according to the mother.

The family was inside for about 8 minutes and when they came out Marley was missing.

"Our world changed at 10 o'clock," said Estrada.  "I was horrified, but I'm trying to hold it together for Mia."

Mia got Marley two years ago when her parents took her to her grandparent's pet store in the West Village on Christmas Eve.

"He was so cute when he was a little puppy. When he was 1-year-old he was this big," said Brendrat, holding her hands about 6-inches apart. "Marley's my best friend."

The young girl added that she spends a lot of time with the pup, playing, walking and sleeping with him.

"We like to play in the playground and we like to climb rocks," she said. "We like to sit in the grass and look at the clouds. He likes to lick me a lot, too!"

In surveillance video provided to WABC, a man wearing headphones can be seen walking up to Marley. He looks into the store and appears to shake his head slightly. Then he calmly unties the dog, which appears to be shaking with its tail between its legs, and walks off with it.

"Maybe they'll reunite by the end of Christmas day. That's what I'm hoping for," said Estrada. "What kind of animal would do that?"

Right when the mom said that, Mia — who was playing w. dolls on side of  tree — answered, "The Grinch who stole Christmas."

Anyone with information on Marley's whereabouts can call the family at (646) 645-7442.

Police did not immediately have any information on the case.