EAST FLATBUSH, Brooklyn (PIX11) — The Uber Eats driver who allegedly stole a Brooklyn woman’s dog after delivering a pizza to her home was taken into custody on Friday.
Michael Gardner, 32, of Brooklyn, has been charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
Gardner was allegedly caught on surveillance video walking away with a 6-month-old cocker spaniel poodle mix after dropping off a pizza order at Melanie Polanco’s East Flatbush home on March 5.
Surveillance video shows a man, presumed to be Gardner, get into an elevator with Polanco’s dog, Ella, leave the building with the pup in his arms and drive away.
Polanco didn’t realize Ella was missing at first but figured she got out when she opened the door for the pizza delivery.
“I was crying. I was devastated; she’s gone. I couldn’t eat or sleep that night,” Polanco said. “She’s probably scared, alone.”
Polanco’s building superintendent showed her the surveillance video, and it confirmed her worst fears. Polanco called 911 to file a police report and she sent the video to Uber.
An Uber representative called Polanco on Monday and told her they spoke with the driver, but he claimed he didn’t have Ella.
After PIX11 News interviewed Polanco about her experience, a man who identified himself as “Michael” called her, she said. The man told her he thought Ella was a lost dog and claimed he gave her to another woman in her building, Polanco said.
But when Polanco confronted “Michael” about the surveillance video, he changed his story, she said. He told her he gave Ella to another man and that he was going to have that man bring the dog back.
That happened on Tuesday when a man showed up to Polanco’s home with Ella. Police were there and took the man into custody, but they released him when they determined he had nothing to do with Ella’s dognapping.
Polanco said detectives were able to get in contact with “Michael,” and they gave him until Friday to turn himself in.