Nothing about the situation was too unusual to Jerrick Hope-Lang until he saw the backpack in his yard.
His 4-month-old gray Neapolitan Mastiff puppy Guido sometimes gets out the front gate of Hope-Lang’s house and makes his way to a neighbor’s house. That’s what Hope-Lang thought might be going on Monday when his mother called him at work and told him the dog was missing.
Hope-Lang assured his mother, who was in town for a funeral, that there was nothing to worry about. Hope-Lang came home to try and find Guido, and saw a backpack that wasn’t his in his yard. It was then that he decided to call the police, he said in a phone interview, at around 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Juneau Police Department officers arrived, and interviewed a neighbor who said they saw an unknown woman walking Guido near Hope-Lang’s Ninth Street house. The neighbor figured it was a friend of his, Hope-Lang said. As the picture became clearer that someone had stolen Guido, Hope-Lang took to Facebook, posting in multiple groups about his beloved puppy.
“As soon as I posted, people started sending me texts and calling me,” Hope-Lang said.
Someone told him they saw the woman with Guido near the Governor’s Mansion. Three minutes later, someone called and said the woman was near the State Office Building. Hope-Lang reached out to friends who were downtown, telling them to look down every street they could to see if they could spot Guido.
Fortunately for Hope-Lang, Guido is a distinctive dog. The Neapolitan Mastiff is from Missouri and is worth around $3,000, Hope-Lang said, and is the only one of his kind in Juneau.
At around 2:15 p.m., according to JPD Public Safety Manager Erann Kalwara, the woman and dog were sighted on Gastineau Avenue. Hope-Lang said a friend of his spotted them, and called both him and JPD. Officers arrived and arrested the woman, identified as 29-year-old Amber L. Farnham, for second-degree theft, Kalwara said. Farnham was taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center and the dog was returned.
Hope-Lang said he doesn’t know Farnham.
Hope-Lang said he’s seen his neighborhood and the whole town change in the past few years as the nation’s drug epidemic has reached Juneau, but the response of his friends and neighbors gave him a bit of hope.
“It brightened my day that, even though it can be awful and we have to put cameras out and people are rifling through our cars because of this drug epidemic, there are still really good people in this town,” Hope-Lang said.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.