Little Dog Stolen During Carjacking in California Is Reunited With Owner

Lola the dog was found roaming the streets of a city 10 miles away.

February 12, 2016, 3:08 PM

— -- Lola, an adorable little dog recently stolen during a carjacking, has been found and reunited with her owner in San Bernardino, California, according to the San Bernardino Police Department.

The carjacking happened this past Monday when Lola's owner, 80-year-old Donald Mittica, had briefly left her in his car to pick up food from a local restaurant, San Bernardino police spokeswoman Eileen Hards told ABC News today.

When Mittica "went back into his vehicle, a suspect hiding in the back wrapped his arm around Donald's neck and held him at knifepoint before shoving him out of the car and speeding away with Lola inside," Hards said. A few hours later, Mittica's stolen car was located 45 miles away in Santa Ana, but Lola was nowhere to be found.

Mittica "was absolutely heartbroken" and "more concerned about finding Lola than his car or any other of his belongings," Hards said. "Lola has been his only companion since his wife of 42 years passed away last year."

On Tuesday, a woman spotted Lola walking around in Riverside, a city about 10 miles away from San Bernardino, Hards said. The Good Samaritan took the dog to Riverside County Animal Shelter, where she was discovered to be microchipped, allowing shelter workers to trace her back to Mittica.

Lola was reunited with Mittica on Wednesday morning, according to Mittica's 47-year-old daughter, Mary Ann Schmidt.

"To find her was like finding a needle in a haystack," Schmidt told ABC News today. "My dad was smiling ear to ear when he finally got to hold her again."

PHOTO: Itzel Vizcarra, a veterinary technician with Riverside County Department of Animal Services, left, reunites Lola, a terrier, with its owner, Donald Mittica, 80, and daughter, Mary Ann Schmidt, 47, both of San Bernardino, Calif., Feb 10, 2016.
Itzel Vizcarra, a veterinary technician with Riverside County Department of Animal Services, left, reunites Lola, a two and a half year old terrier, with its owner, Donald Mittica, 80, and daughter, Mary Ann Schmidt, 47, both of San Bernardino, Calif., Feb 10, 2016.
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Schmidt said though they were concerned Lola's "personality might have changed" from what she went through, the tiny white terrier was "wagging her little tail" and acting like nothing had ever happened to her.

During the reunion Mittica told local newspaper The Press Enterprise that the last few days were like "hell on wheels" for him but fortunately, "it worked out pretty doggone good."

Four juvenile suspects found in Mittica's stolen car were arrested Monday evening after a pursuit, according to the Santa Ana Police Department public information officer Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

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