Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

French bulldog stolen at gunpoint found in Tampa, deputies say

Deputies are searching for two men accused of stealing Bueller, a French bulldog.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies are searching for two men accused of stealing Bueller, a French bulldog.

TOWN 'N COUNTRY — The stranger showed up Saturday morning at Gregory Sakas' home, skittish and mute but nice enough.

Sakas invited him inside, made him a pallet of beach towels, and provided meals and entertainment.

"Man, we gave him a stick, and he was running around the yard like a maniac," Sakas said. "But he was really polite."

It wasn't until after the weekend was over that Sakas learned the true identity of his overnight guest, a 25-pound French bulldog: His real name was Bueller, he had been stolen at gunpoint and his wrinkly face was all over social media and television news.

"I said, 'Man, I'm taking this dog to the police department,' " Sakas said.

Bueller belongs to a man named Derek McComber, 27, according to the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. McComber told deputies that he was walking Bueller near Pinehurst Drive on Friday when a gray Honda Civic with two men inside pulled up along the side of the road.

A man emerged from the car and asked McComber what kind of dog Bueller was. When McComber said he was a French bulldog, the man scooped up the dog while pointing a handgun at McComber, deputies said.

The gunman jumped into the car with Bueller and drove off.

McComber created a Facebook page and a Twitter account to spread word of Bueller's disappearance.

Sakas, who lives less than a mile away from McComber, didn't see any of that.

But he had already begun trying to find Bueller's real owner, posting "found dog" signs with his phone number on stop sign poles and at local veterinary clinics.

One of his contacts, at a nearby Sunshine Animal Hospital, told him a man had come into the clinic, looking for a dog that matched the dog's description. That man, who turned out to be McComber, also talked about how the dog had been stolen at gunpoint, according to Sakas.

Sakas found the news stories online and immediately called the Sheriff's Office, which arranged a reunion with McComber.

McComber did not return phone messages Monday. But Sakas said the reunion was a joyful one.

"He was all over him, man," said Sakas, referring to Bueller. "They knew each other for sure."

Sakas said he was told he'd be hearing about a reward from Crime Stoppers.

An unemployed repairman, Sakas said he doesn't mind the money, but it wasn't why he turned in the pup. He said he had a dog he loved once, Zeke, which died a few years ago.

"We're dog people," he said.

Times staff writer Laura C. Morel contributed to this report.

French bulldog stolen at gunpoint found in Tampa, deputies say 01/14/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 7:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pasco considers new tax districts for parks, libraries, public safety

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Faced with growing costs amid an expected voter-endorsed tax cut, Pasco County is considering changing the way it pays for parks, libraries and public safety.

Pasco County is considering a new taxing district to finance an expansion and ongoing operations of the county's Department of Parks,Recreaton and Natural Resources. Shown is the Dick's Tournament of Champions at the the  Wesley Chapel District Park, the last district park developed by the county. It opened in 2007.
  2. Ruskin man sought in fatal stabbing of roommate


    RUSKIN — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has issued an arrest warrant for the suspect who fatally stabbed his roommate in a Ruskin home on Monday afternoon.

    Angel Calix, shown during a June 2016 arrest, is wanted in the fatal stabbing of a Ruskin man on Oct. 23, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Romano: Why flood insurance might not be enough to save your home

    Local Government

    Irma is gone, and Maria never came.

    And yet this is as good a time as any to worry.

  4. Tampa's streetcar system looks to expand north through downtown


    TAMPA — The TECO Line Streetcar system that runs from Ybor City to the Channel District could be extended north through downtown all the way to Tampa Heights, according to the latest update of a $1.7 million study aimed at expanding the streetcar system.

    Riders take in the last few stops of the streetcar route in Ybor City during the tenth anniversary celebration of the TECO line streetcar system in Tampa in 2012. Now officials are looking for ways to expand the service north through downtown to Tampa Heights. [EVE EDELHEIT  |  Times]
  5. Interview: Steve Martin, Martin Short bringing 'best version' of their show back to St. Petersburg


    Hot celebrity-spotting tip: Stop by the Salvador Dalí Museum on Jan. 19. You might catch a glimpse of Steve Martin.

    Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short will bring “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life” to the Mahaffey Theater on Jan. 19.