ATLANTA -- Police say it is a very rare crime. If you're a pet owner, you will hope it will never happen again. A Lindbergh woman's dog was kidnapped and held for ransom and she put her life on the line to get it back.
Emily Connors said she was willing to risk her life for Plato, her 7-year old Maltese. She was willing to meet with the man who stole her dog and pay him a $1,000 ransom to get her back. "I think anybody that has a pet would understand it," Connors said.
She received several threats from the suspect but it was a picture he sent her that convinced her she had to do something. The photo was of Plato with a gun pointed at her head. The photo even gave Atlanta Policepause. They knew they were dealing with a dangerous criminal and needed time to organize a takedown.
But Connors said she couldn't wait because she felt her dog's life was in danger.
She agonized for two days after a burglary at her Lindbergh apartment on August 15th. Connors said she came home to find someone stole her TV, laptop, and other electronics and Plato. "She usually runs up to me when I walk in and she didn't come running up to me," Connors said.
One day later Connors would find out her dog was still alive but in danger. She learned it from a cryptic phone call. "And he says I got your dog and it's going to cost you $3,000 to get her back," she said.
A series of threatening text messages would follow, including one that said "And u right i am a terrist and if u think im kidding dnt have that cash and watch how i torture this dog".
She eventually convinced the suspect to accept $1,000. He texted "So bring the 1000 and just remember if u play eany games i will kill the dog in front of you".
Then he sent the picture with the gun pointed at Plato's head. "And he threatened to kill her, to cut off her head, to torture her," Connors said.
Connors got the suspect to agree to meet her in front of her bank on busy Cheshire Bridge Road. "And he just strolled up like nothing was going on with the dog completely enclosed in the backpack," she said. Plato was zipped up inside a backpack.
Connors said she and the suspect went back and forth about who would turn over the money or the dog. "I said show me the dog and he kind of opened it a little and she stuck her nose out and she saw me," Connors said. "She got really excited.
She got so excited Connors said Plato jumped out of the backpack. At the same time the suspect grabbed the envelope of cash from Connors hands. "I was just relieved to get my dog back," Connors said.
A short time later the suspect sent Connors another text, one she called a slap in the face. It read "Thanks for the small donation". But she had her dog back. "I would do anything for my pet, I love her," she said. "She's part of my family and she is unconditional love."
Atlanta Police say this crime is very rare, but they are taking it seriously. They are investigating it as a burglary and robbery. If anyone knows anything about it, they are asking them to call Crime Stoppers Atlantaat 404-577-TIPS(8477).
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