Cats inside family's stolen SUV missing after vehicle found

VIDEO: SUV with beloved cats inside stolen as family stops to get food on way out of town

TACOMA, Wash. — Members of a Kitsap County family told KIRO 7 their cats are still missing after police found their stolen SUV on South Tacoma Way Monday night.

The cats were in the family’s 2014 Ford Expedition while they were eating dinner about 7 p.m. at the Azteca Mexican Restaurant along Tacoma Mall Boulevard, police said.

Family members told KIRO 7 they’d stopped for a bite to eat for about 45 minutes on their way to visit a loved one for the weekend.

Content Continues Below

"I was like, 'Oh my God, they stole the car,'” said Richelle Sherwood. “My daughter started crying; we realized the animals were in there."

The cats were in carriers inside the SUV. The family said electronics, financial documents and sentimental family items were also stolen.

Scroll down to continue reading

More news from KIRO 7

Sherwood said their cat Gilbert had been with the family 14 years and they had taken Ajzha in as a stray.

"He has kidney issues and he needs special food,” said Sherwood. "These are a part, beloved part of our family.”

Police said the crook first smashed the back window of the SUV.

Surveillance video from Azteca shared with KIRO 7 shows a gold Chevy Impala pull up near the family's SUV. A person gets out and disappears behind the SUV, apparently smashing the window before jumping back into the getaway car and leaving.

The thieves returned shortly after, with one person getting into the family’s SUV and driving off, followed by the suspects’ Chevy Impala.

"I turned around and double clicked it, and the horn honked, the whole nine yards, so it was locked,” said Sherwood. “They knew what they were doing and they did it quickly."

Tacoma police said the family’s SUV was spotted at a motel in Kent on Monday but no arrests were made.

The family is now hoping for the safe return of its cats, which both have microchips implanted in them. They’ve made flyers and have visited local animal shelters.

"Losing your car, you have insurance,” said Sherwood. “But we want our... our pets back.”

Anyone who sees the cats or has information on the theft is asked to call police.