Security vision has captured the brazen daylight theft of a Melbourne couple’s much-loved dog from their front yard.
The couple believe the man had waited for them to leave their apartment before making his move to steal their 18-month-old staffy named Ava on Sunday.
CCTV shows the man loitering outside the apartment block on Nott St in Port Melbourne before jumping over the fence then reappearing shortly afterwards with Ava in his arms.
The dog can be seen struggling in the man’s arms as he places her on the ground on a leash and walks off with her.
Shortly afterwards, the man is caught on dash cam crossing the road with Ava, before being seen catching a tram at nearby Graham Street.
Ava’s distraught owners believe the theft, which occurred on Sunday at around 1pm, had been planned by the man.
"We've had her ever since she was a little puppy and she's part of the family," her owner Steve Booth told 7News.
"She's like our baby and she's what makes me and my girlfriend a family."
The couple said they had only popped out of their home for 15 minutes when the theft took place.
Mr Booth believes the suspect, who he says was accompanied by another man, had planned the theft and fears Ava was stolen by dog fighters.
"They must have staked out the place," Mr Booth said.
"They'd clearly been here before."
The couple are pleading for Ava’s safe return.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.