A Texas woman who has been searching for her two dogs since they went missing after her car was stolen from a San Antonio Walmart parking lot last week has turned her attention to St. Augustine, hoping for answers.
Maria Hartmann’s Fiat 500 was recovered earlier this week at the St. Augustine Beach pier.
Beach police officers were running tags at the pier parking lot while investigating another matter when they learned that the car had been reported stolen, St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Robert Hardwick told The Record on Thursday.
Hartmann said she last saw her car, and her dogs, Aug. 1 when she locked them inside the running car and ran into Walmart with a spare key.
“I think it took maybe 10 minutes and I came out and no car and no dogs,” she said Thursday during a phone interview.
Hartmann, who says her dogs never leave her side, said she thought she was doing the right thing by keeping her car running so the dogs could stay cool.
She said she now feels partly responsible for their loss.
“That night was the worst night of my life,” she said of the first night she spent without her pets, Pirulo, a black terrier mix, and Lady, a black Labrador mix.
Hartmann said she believes the dogs were taken with the car because she only lives a few blocks from the Walmart and they know the route back home.
Since they disappeared, her daughter, Carolina Guerrero, has posted a plea for help on Facebook that has been shared more than 2,000 times and her story has been told by the San Antonio Express-News.
“There is something amazing and beautiful that I am learning — that people help a lot,” Hartmann said.
She is offering a $100 reward for each dog. Anyone with information can email firstname.lastname@example.org.