On Wednesday morning, James Noteboom walked inside Pam’s Donuts shop in Hemet.
When he walked out moments later, his dealership loaner car was missing.
“I don‘t think I was inside two minutes because I was the only one in there and they know I always come for a medium coffee,” he said.
In surveillance video, a car can be seen driving up with a passenger who gets out and heads straight for Noteboom’s car. Seconds later that car left the parking lot with Notebloom’s beloved family dog, 6-year-old Reno, in the backseat.
Notebloom was forced to break the news to his wife, Helga.
“To best describe it I went berserk,” she said. “Not knowing where he is, if they threw him out, if he was OK, if he was alive anywhere. He was scared to death.”
Family members spent hours searching for Reno without any luck. Helga and James thought they’d never see him again. Thankfully they were wrong.
“I kind of saw something popping its head out,” said Martin Huizar, recounting the moment he and his wife spotted Reno.
Huizar is a U.S. Marine Master sergeant based at Twentynine Palms. He and his wife were walking their dogs when they spotted Reno in a lake near their Menifee home.
“The dog was shivering. He looked like he was swimming but I could see that he could touch the ground,” Huizar said.
Huizar was able to fish Reno out of the water. He then called the phone number on the dog license, and Helga answered the phone. Nearly 12 hours after he went missing, she found out Reno was alive.
“I‘m just grateful to no end. There‘s just no way to thank him enough,” she said.
Huizar said he’s just happy he was able to help. He also hopes the thief is eventually caught and charged with more than just stealing a car.
“So hopefully if police ever catch him they add this to the crime what they did.”