Sydney’s Inner West Community Band Together to Help Find “Jake the Jack Russell” After He Was Stolen Outside Supermarket

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.


It’s a tale of tenacity and treasured community spirit, which, if Jake the Jack Russell could speak, would say had an excellent ending for his owner.

In the afternoon of Saturday 30 August 2020, Jake the Jack Russell and his owner, 51-year-old Gerard Murphy, went for a stroll to their local supermarket in Hurlstone Park to buy some broccoli.

But what was meant to be just a routine trip to the shops turned out to be the beginnings of an unexpected crime case.

Indeed, as Mr Murphy went to duck inside the Friendly Grocer supermarket, he tied the lead of his beloved rescue dog to a nearby park bench, just as he always does.

But upon his return, he was met with the startling shock of Jake having suddenly disappeared.

Mr Murphy quickly called Burwood Police, who commenced a search for the 10-year-old dog.

Key to solving the case was security vision, which showed that merely minutes upon Mr Murphy walking into the grocery store, a man allegedly untied the 10-year-old Jack Russell’s lead from the bench and snatched him.

In fact, the thief had followed Gerard and Jack to the store.

Now feeling terrible, Mr Murphy felt like he had let his fur friend down.

Speaking to 9News, Mr Murphy said, “I felt pretty bad – like I had let him down and hadn’t looked after him”.


Huge Effort from Local Community Sees Jake the Jack Russell Back in Arms of His Owner After Dognapping Debacle

What happened next is truly a testament to the heart-warming, collective Australian spirit.

Mr Murphy and his family put posters together to place around the suburb advising that his much-loved fur son had gone missing.

Speeding up the frantic search, a post was shared to Facebook also advising of the dog’s disappearance.

From here, the inner west community got behind their adored four-legged friend and shared the post, which reached over 140,000 people and prompted neighbours to continue plastering the posters of him around the neighbourhood.

All the while, with the security vision on hand, police were able to trace the dognapper’s steps and soon found Jake scratching at the door of a home in Sydenham.

Thanks to the power of social media and police efforts, within 24 hours of the incident, officers were led to a home on George St, some five kilometres from where Jake had been stolen.

Around 7:30pm, they found the Jack Russell on the property.

The pet thief, a 53-year-old man, was handed a Court Attendance notice for allegedly stealing the dog.

He appeared at Burwood Local Court on October 5.

Meanwhile, Jake was quickly reunited with his owner.

“We were happier than him he was a little dazed and confused,” Mr Murphy said.

The sentiment was evidently the same for members of the public as news of Jake’s rescue by NSW Police quickly did the rounds on social media, attracting more than 6,000 reactions and 600 comments.

“Fantastic outcome! Great work,” one woman commented.

“Why do people steal people’s dogs? I just don’t get it. Nice work getting this goodboi home,” another wrote.

This sentiment was echoed as another user uttered, “How low can you be to steal someone’s dog. Thank you so much boys in blue for getting him back”.

Many of the public simply expressed joy that the two were reunited.

“Excellent work officers so happy the fellow got his loved baby back,” one woman wrote.

“I’m so happy he was found. Can the people blaming the owner for securing their dog to a pole whilst in a shop, stop,” another said, before continuing to say, “It’s the thieves who steal from others that should stop!!”

Thankfully, in NSW, our fur companions are protected by the law.

So what is the law on stealing someone else’s dog in NSW?

It is against the law to steal a dog, attracting a fine of $550, or six months in jail, or even both.

In fact, simply being in possession of a stolen dog or its skin is also against the law.

Any person caught knowingly in possession of a stolen dog or its skin, can, on a finding of guilt be liable to pay a fine of $550, which is made clear in section 504 of the Crime Act 1900 (NSW).

Meanwhile, where a dog is stolen, other than being immoral, it is also illegal to return it for a profit where the dog’s owner has proposed a financial recompense for its return. This carries up to one-year imprisonment.

Have a question on the law on stealing dogs? Speak to our experienced criminal lawyers based in Blacktown, and Sydney CBD.

About Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia

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