Cooler holding animal remains stolen from vet hosptial

- Police looking for freezer stolen from the Bradenton Vet Hospital on W. 17th Ave. Monday night.

Surveillance video shows the three minutes it took the suspected thieves to drive their pickup truck into the parking lot, load the freezer, and drive away.

But the freezer isn't all that's missing. Inside were the remains of customers' beloved pets, waiting to be taken for cremation.

"The crematorium guy came in and was basically like, 'Where is your freezer?'" said Kathy Richardson, an assistant supervisor at the hospital. "We are like, 'What do you mean? It is right out there.'"

But it wasn't there. 

Inside the unlocked, nondescript freezer the hospital bought second-hand a few years ago were two dark plastic bags containing the remains of two pets that the hospital had put down.

"Somebody stole it? Why would somebody steal an old freezer?" asked Richardson.

One of the pets was a 13-year-old husky belonging to a woman in Sarasota who was hoping to have her pet's remains forever.

"They had had that husky since it was a puppy," said Richardson. "These pets are like their kids. They are their life and blood. They would do anything for these pets."

Richardson expects whoever did it had no clue anything was inside until they opened it.

Staffers even spent the next day searching nearby alleys to see if the culprit threw anything away, but they came up empty-handed.

"We don't care about the freezer," said Richardson. "If it is not too late, bring the pets back and put them at our back door. That could be some closure for the owners."

Bradenton police are asking everyone to take a good look at the truck in the surveillance video - a dark medium size pick-up truck, possibly a Nissan Frontier. They hope to find the culprit and two dogs they likely stole by accident. 

"Put yourself in their place," Richardson said of the owners. "Imagine what they are going through right now."

The replacement freezer the hospital buys is going to be locked up.

Anyone with information about the freezer or the dogs' remains is asked to call the Bradenton Police Department at 941-932-9300 or Detective Jeff Beckley at 941-932-9356.

You may also email your information to CRIMETIPS@CITYOFBRADENTON.COM

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