By JEROD CLAPP
Forget the Jeep. Tony Salamone wants his dog back.
The 72-year-old Otisco man was visiting his son at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Bare Shoulder BBQ in Charlestown when he saw his car pulling out of the parking lot. When he realized his wife wasn’t driving it, he became concerned.
But his wife’s 2004 red Jeep Liberty wasn’t all the car thief got — in the back seat was Salamone’s 100-pound, 3-year-old Great Pyrenees, Rocky. He said he loves Rocky as much as he does his son, Andrew.
“It’s a 100-pound dog that sleeps with me,” Salamone said. “It’s a part of my life, that dog, and I just don’t know what I’m going to do. Everybody in the neighborhood knows him, he’s just that kind of dog.”
Salamone said he left the keys in the car because with such a large dog in the back seat, he didn’t think anyone would try to steal the car.
Jason Broady, assistant chief with the Charlestown Police Department, said he can’t believe the dog didn’t deter the thief.
“It has to be somebody who either is dumb enough that they didn’t see the dog or is dumb enough that they weren’t scared by the dog,” Broady said. “A Great Pyrenees is a large dog, to jump in with one in the back seat is kind of unbelievable.”
He said witnesses described the thief as a thin white male without a shirt on. He had short brown hair and a bushy goatee.
Rocky is the second Great Pyrenees he’s had taken from him in one way or another. In 2010, another of his dogs, Reenie, was shot by someone.
Andrew Salamone said two men appeared to be involved in stealing the car, one of them possibly in a blue Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with rust on part of the bed. He tried chasing them down, but wasn’t able to find them.
Though Rocky is friendly once he gets to know you, Andrew said he may not appear that way when you first meet him.
“Rocky’s a guard dog, he greets everyone to the property and he’s a good dog,” Andrew said.
With a huge white dog in the back seat, Salamone said he’s surprised the thieves didn’t go to another target when Rocky started barking.
“What I don’t understand is that when Rocky got up, it didn’t panic the guy because he took off,” Salamone said.
Charlestown Police got the call and Salamone said they arrived at the restaurant in about five minutes.
He said the next day, he drove around town for an hour trying to find his dog to no avail.
“You know, you hear those stories about someone’s dog coming back after so long,” Salamone said. “I’m hoping that happens, but I just don’t know.”
While Salamone said the Jeep can be replaced, he just hopes he gets to have his dog back in his bed with him.
“I can’t believe somebody would do that,” he said. “I mean the Jeep, hey, there’s thieves all over the place. But with the dog in the back? That’s like taking someone’s child as far as I’m concerned.”
SO YOU KNOW
Stolen — 2004 Jeep Liberty, red, with a chrome grill on the front and chrome grills over the taillights. Rocky, a 100-pound Great Pyrenees was in the back seat.
Involved — Possibly two men, a blue Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with a partially rusted bed.
Dog — Great Pyrenees named Rocky, a 3-year-old, 100-pound, large white dog. He was wearing a tan, red and blue collar with his name on it.
Got a tip? Submit an anonymous tip with the Charlestown Police department at 812-256-2473.