Tiffin Mom Accused of Stealing Puppies

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Investigators believe a 45-year-old mother was behind at least two dog thefts from Petland in Iowa City after members of the public identified her on surveillance video footage taking a poodle last month.

Diana Rae Chance, of Tiffin, was arrested Thursday after her daughter told police that her mom in February said they could get a dog even though they couldn't afford it, according to a criminal complaint. Chance is accused of entering the Iowa City Petland on Feb. 10 with her daughter and taking a miniature poodle worth $1,800, according to police.

Further investigation led police to arrest Chance in connection with a September 2012 theft of a $1,500 Dachshund from the same store.

Chance faces two felony counts of second-degree theft and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was being held in the Johnson County Jail on Friday morning.

Iowa City police were called to the Petland about the stolen dog on Feb. 22. The store's owner gave police details of the theft, which occurred on Feb. 10, including video footage of the suspects.

Police released that information to the public, and numerous tips came in identifying Chance as a possible suspect. Police found her and recovered the stolen dog on the same they day there called. The animal was returned to Petland unharmed, according to a news release.

Petland owner Ron Solsrud previously said a woman and a teenager, believed to be her daughter, took the miniature poodle from the store. Surveillance video showed the woman and her daughter playing with the white poodle and then hurrying out the front door.

"She's teaching her child how to do this and it troubles me," Solsrud said at the time.

According to the criminal complaint, police interviewed her daughter, who said that her mother told her she could get a dog "even though they couldn't afford it."

The daughter told police that she knew her mother was talking about stealing the animal "because they had done it several times in the past at other stores," according to the complaint.

During an interview with Chance, she told police that she knew her daughter was taking the dog that day, officers reported.

Police scanned a chip inside the miniature poodle and confirmed it was registered as the dog taken from Petland, according to the complaint. While searching Chance's home, police reported scanning a chip inside a Dachshund. The chip number matched a Dachshund taken from the Iowa City Petland in September 2012, police reported.
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