Men accused of stealing dog at gunpoint linked to 2nd robbery

Posted: Updated:
NEWARK -

As the search continues for three men accused of stealing a Newark family’s dog at gunpoint, authorities have linked the trio to a second armed robbery.

Authorities said the dognapping happened Friday night on North Sixth Street while Melanie Costa's father was taking her 3-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Munchkin out for a walk. Police said three men allegedly jumped out of a car and pushed Costa's father to the ground.

Danielle Amaral, Costa's cousin, said the men asked Costa's father for his phone or wallet. When he said he didn't have anything, they pushed him against a wall and patted him down. One of the men then said to grab the dog, so they took Munchkin and fled, Amaral said.

Police said Yorkshire terriers can sell for hundreds of dollars. Munchkin is chipped, so he should register if someone tries to sell him, authorities added.

Costa's father wasn't injured during the incident. Her family is heartbroken, but they are hopeful they can find a way to bring their dog home.

"I walked in my house the other day, and (it) felt empty," Costa said. "I kept looking in each room for him."

Authorities said Tuesday that three men fitting the same description approached a man around 10:10 p.m. the same day that Munchkin was stolen in the area of the 300 block of Third Avenue West and robbed him of his cash and personal property at gunpoint.

Law enforcement officials urge anyone with information about either incident to contact Newark police’s 24-hour Crime Stopper tip line at 1-877-695-8477 or 1-877-695-4867. All anonymous Crime Stopper tips are kept confidential and could result in a reward. 

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