Police search for boy's autism support dog stolen from family's car

The dog has been missing since Sunday, police said.

Police are still searching for the thief who snatched a support dog belonging to a boy with autism in Northern California over the weekend.

Cynthia Niswonger said she was on her way home to San Diego with her 12-year-old son Neeko and a friend on Sunday afternoon when they stopped at a McDonald's restaurant in the city of Stockton for a quick bite to eat. She said they left Neeko's autism assistance dog, named Sloan, inside the locked car with the air conditioning on and periodically looked out the window to check on her, according to ABC Sacramento affiliate KXTV.

"I did go and use the restroom, and I believe at that point somebody got into our car," Niswonger told KXTV. "We came out just in time to see a man driving away in our car with our dog in it."

Niswonger's friend tried to chase after the car but it sped off with Sloan inside, she said.

Niswonger said her son deeply misses his dog and is worried.

"As a person with autism, animals sometimes get reactions and connections out of him that he can't always give," she told KXTV.

The family's stolen car was found a couple of miles away on Monday afternoon, but the dog wasn't inside, Stockton Police Department spokesman Joseph Silva told ABC News.

The police department is investigating the incident, Silva said.