A Hill couple are looking for their beloved pet dog after he was taken during what police say started as an attempted carjacking near Oxon Hill, MD last Friday.
Duke was not with them at the time, but his owners Alexa and James were already in a hurry to get to him.
They’d texted their dog sitter as soon as they’d landed at Dulles Friday, Sept 22, fresh from three weeks of their honeymoon.
It was the longest they’d been away from Duke, their 3-year-old fuzzy black dog. “The only reason we wanted to come back was to see our sweet dog,” Alexa said.
They’d last heard from her at 9:30 p.m., on her way from Maryland to bring Duke back home to Capitol Hill, DC. By midnight, they were at home on the Hill —and worried. “She’s usually so responsive,” Alexa said.
At 1:30 a.m. the dog sitter finally called, beside herself and crying.
“She said, Duke has been taken. They have Duke,” Alexa recalled. “We were just absolutely in shock.”
On Friday, Sept. 22 at around 9 p.m., the dog sitter was driving to DC to bring Duke home. She pulled along Livingston Road, just south of Oxon Hill Road, to adjust her GPS and check her phone. That’s when two men approached her car and, according to police reports, pointed a gun at her.
Her German Shepherd was sitting in the passenger seat. She told Prince George County Police Department (PGPD) that he own dog was very aggressive in defending her; that prevented them from getting into the front seat and taking the car.
Instead, the suspects opened the back door and took Duke. When they fled, the dog sitter called 911.
Duke has not been seen since.
The dog sitter was extremely shaken but thankfully not harmed. She had been boarding Duke for more than a year and, Alexa says, always took great care of him. The sitter was absolutely devastated.
Married in September 2019, Alexa and James had delayed their honeymoon for early four years. First, it was a fiscal decision —they’d just purchased a home in Hill East, near the Armory, so they thought they’d wait a year. Then came the pandemic.
Duke had been part of the family since they’d brought him home to their new house in late 2020, only sixteen weeks old. He was big, but such a puppy. “He was just flopping around,” she recalled. “He’s just an adorable dog.”
Duke is 3 years old and very distinctive: he stands 80 pounds and 27” tall at the shoulder —nearly 3 feet (35“ floor to the top of his head). Duke has jet black hair and pointed ears.
Police initially looked at it as a carjacking, but are now calling it a robbery since Duke was taken. Alexa said the family has been told the dog could be used as bait for dogfighting, caged for illegal breeding, or even be running loose somewhere if he somehow got away or was released. “We’re casting a wide net,” she said, since Duke could be resold anywhere in the country.
The family offering a $2,000 reward, “no questions asked”: call 202-922-7035.
PGPD is offering their own $2,500 reward for tips leading to an arrest and indictment.. The case number is 23-0056347.
Prince George’s County police said those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477 (TIPS) with any information on Duke’s whereabouts or the theft. You can also submit tips online here.