Sharon Wheat and her dog Sami reunited at the Federal Way Police Department after she was stolen outside of a Safeway. Mark Klaas/staff photo

Sharon Wheat and her dog Sami reunited at the Federal Way Police Department after she was stolen outside of a Safeway. Mark Klaas/staff photo

Stolen rescue dog, lost peacock reunited with owners

Federal Way police share emotional reunions after tracking down stolen dog in abandoned home, finding lost peacock.

It only took a moment, and then she was gone.

On Nov. 20 Sharon Wheat drove herself and her beloved dog Sami, a 4½-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback Pitbull mix to the South 320th Street Safeway to walk around and get some fresh air.

During their walk, the 68-year-old retired school teacher decided to tie Sami’s leash to a bike rack outside of the store’s front entrance to run inside and use the restroom.

“What a foolish thing I did,” Wheat said, thinking back on tying up her dog.

As soon as she realized her beloved Sami had been taken, she immediately called the police.

Federal Way police Lt. Daniels and officers Tilford, Meshkoff and Jaeger responded right away, and started working the case to reunite Wheat and Sami.

The officers were able to get surveillance footage from Safeway, and pulled a few identifiable photo stills to try and track down the suspect.

Distressed and wanting to find her dog, Wheat started talking to different people around the area, including a homeless man who police later identified to be the father of the Safeway dog-snatcher.

While the search only lasted one day, Wheat was on her own emotional rollercoaster worrying she might never see her dog again.

“I went between ‘never seeing the dog again’ to ‘knowing she will be OK,’ ” Wheat said.

The fact that Sami, a rescue dog, was a Christmas gift from her son four years ago made the stressful event even harder on Wheat.

“She’s my best girl,” she said. “She’s the light of my life.”

Luckily, because of the stills the officers were able to get from surveillance, they recognized the suspect. Thursday morning, they found him in an abandoned home on South 320th Street, east of Interstate 5.

When officers knocked on the door to the house, occupied by the homeless man Wheat had spoken to and his two sons, they heard barking inside. When they got inside the home, they found Sami, identified by her red collar and a black marking on her tail that Wheat had described in her initial report to them.

While officers were able to safely retrieve Sami, who was unharmed, as of the afternoon of Nov. 21 the suspect who took her was still at large.

But even so, Wheat was overjoyed to have her Sami back, evident from their happy reunion filled with Sami’s dog kisses Thursday afternoon.

Wheat gathered with the officers who saved Sami at the Federal Way Police Department office inside City Hall around 12:15 p.m., with plenty of happy tears and smiles to go around the lobby.

Cmdr. Casey Jones, who oversees the Animals Services department, was thankful this case had a happy ending.

“Anytime you can reunite a dog like that, it’s awesome,” Jones said.

Wheat said that without the swift police reaction she had from FWPD, she knows Sami may have never been found.

“I’m very impressed by their work,” Wheat said of the rescue efforts. “I am so grateful. I appreciate their help.”

Sami was not chipped and did not have a dog tag, Wheat said, but she intends to change that moving forward.

According to FWPD, the suspect has an active warrant from Lakewood, with a probable theft charge from his dog-napping.

Peacock lost and found

Federal Way resident Hossein Fini and his wife Fahima have also dealt with their own missing pet problems, only their pet is different than most.

Their pet is a peacock named Blue.

Blue, almost three years old, has lived with the Fini’s his entire life on their Federal Way ranch property. He’s unleashed, they said, and he likes to wander around their yard, which happens to be close to a lush golf course.

One day, Blue decided to wander over to the golf course. At the time, Fini was unaware that it was illegal for him to let Blue wander alone, according to FWPD.

After the officer on scene contained Blue, he was able to reunite him with Fini, who said it was likely he and his wife would re-home him. Fini said that while they do let Blue wander wherever he wants, he does not usually stray from their yard.

And if he does wander away, Blue usually calls for his owners to come get him and bring him back home.

“Peacock’s voices are different,” he said. “So when he calls we say, ‘Hey, Blue, what’s going on,’ and then he gets quiet because he knows we are here.”

Fini first owned peacocks about six or seven years ago, when he and his wife bought their large property and wanted to fill it with chickens.

“We went to an animal auction,” he said, but instead of walking away with some chickens for their yard, they bought Blue’s father.

Luckily, they had a friend who also owned peacocks, and they bought a female peacock for Blue’s father, which soon enough gave them Blue and eight of his siblings. They decided to give their friend all of Blue’s siblings, Fini said, but they kept Blue because of how intensely blue his coat was.

After getting Blue back from the police, though, Fini and his wife decided to give Blue to their friend so he could have more room to roam and be around his own kind. Blue is set to move to another ranch in Vancouver, Washington, with even more peacocks, Fini said.

They will visit Blue when they can, but they also don’t want to disturb the new owners too much.

Fini said they don’t know if they will get another peacock, but they are very unique animals.

“If peacocks like you, they will come up to you and dance for you,” he said, chuckling.

To see the video FWPD took of Blue after they found him, visit the Federal Way Police Department’s Facebook page.

Auburn and Kent editor Mark Klaas contributed to this story.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

Sharon Wheat and Sami stand with the four FWPd officers who helped find Sami in the 24 hours after she was taken. Mark Klaas/staff photo

Sharon Wheat and Sami stand with the four FWPd officers who helped find Sami in the 24 hours after she was taken. Mark Klaas/staff photo

More in News & Comment

Photo of promotional recruitment banner used by Auburn Police Department at Petpalooza. The banner features Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson, who is awaiting trial for the 2019 murder and assault of Jesse Sarey. Photo courtesy of Jeff Trimble
Auburn police use photo of embattled officer on recruitment banner

Families of people killed by Jeffrey Nelson, who’s awaiting trial for murder, speak out over use of his photo at Petpalooza.

T
Use your King County library card to explore the outdoors

KCLS cardholders can check out a Discover Pass for two weeks to explore public lands.

Monkeypox virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
King County identifies first presumptive monkeypox case

The illness is not as easily transmitted compared to COVID-19, according to health officer.

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

t
Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.