New York City couple blames dog-walking app Wag for stolen pooch

BATTERY PARK CITY, Manhattan -- A Manhattan couple said that their beloved dog was stolen -- and a dog walker contracted through the app Wag is in custody.

Police arrested the dog walker, 22-year-old Christian Madriaga, of the Bronx, Friday afternoon, but Sophie and Max Troper said they feel victimized their Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix, Benny, was snatched from their Battery City apartment Thursday morning.

"We treat him like he's our child, but he is. He walked down the aisle at our wedding in September, and he's just a huge part of our lives," Sophie Troper said.

In order to access the Tropers' apartment, visitors need the code to the lockbox, and they said the only people who have it are the dog walkers they hire through the app.

"There's no way that someone could access this without having a code or without having a friend who had that code, so we're hoping that we can rely on Wag and the detectives because all the information that's out there is with Wag," Max said.

The Tropers said they book dog walkers through Wag several times a week, but Thursday at 10:35 a.m., they got word their walker had canceled. By 11:05 a.m., the alleged dognapper had Benny and was gone. They're calling this sequence of events "a little odd."

Wag issued a statement, calling this "an extremely rare case," pledging "24 hour support, which includes the hiring of a private investigator and a monetary reward for the safe return of Benny."

But the Tropers said that Wag didn't respond much at first until they contacted celebrity Wag investor, Olivia Munn, who called the Tropers herself to express her concern.

The couple was ecstatic to be reunited with Benny later Friday afternoon and thanked investigators on Instagram.

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