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EXCLUSIVE | Sussex County woman speaks out after dog was stolen out of her car in Rehoboth

EXCLUSIVE | Sussex County woman speaks out after dog was stolen

A Sussex County woman is speaking out, pleading with the public to help find her dog Bella, who was stolen right out of her vehicle at a shopping center in Rehoboth.

Rita Anderson, of Bethany Beach, says on the evening of February 20 her Shih Tzu, Bella was stolen out of her car while inside a store in the Pelican Shopping Center in Rehoboth Beach. Now, a little over a month has gone by with no trace of Bella and Rita is pleading with the public to find the man responsible in an effort to bring Bella home.

“I went in the store very quickly because I only needed to get one item, I wasn’t in ten minutes, and when I came out she wasn’t in my SUV,” Rita said. “I was hysterical and she wasn’t in there, I’m screaming and yelling, it’s about 5’o’clock on a Sunday. The door wasn’t open, so I’m trying to figure out how she got out.”

Unable to wrap her head around how Bella could have gotten out of the car, a woman who was parked just behind Rita told her the shocking truth about what happened, that a man had opened her car and stole her dog.

“The lady that was parked behind me was very upset herself and said she looked out of her rearview mirror and she saw a man take Bella out of the passenger side of the car, and she thought it was her dog,” Rita explained. “She said the only reason she looked was because her son said ‘look mommy that’s the kind of dog I want’ so she was concentrating more on the dog than she was the man.'”

With Bella gone, Rita is beside herself and says it’s like stealing someone’s child.

“It’s left me horrible, she was my baby,” Rita said. “She would’ve been two on March 6th. I’ve had her since she was eight weeks old. I just can’t imagine anybody taking somebody’s dog. It’s like taking someone’s, almost like taking someone’s child. How could someone be so inhumane to do such a thing.”

Rita said she blames herself for not locking the door, but at the time she didn’t think of anything of it because she was just in and out of the store so quickly. She says the man had to be watching her, plotting to steal Bella.

“He had to be watching me, had too,” Rita said. “Bella is the sweetest dog, she will go to anybody, and that’s probably her downfall.”

If you have any information at all on the whereabouts of Bella, think you have found Bella, or know who stole her, we urge you to email our station at so we can put you in touch with the owner and help bring Bella home.

A report has been filed with Delaware State Police who are aware of the incident.

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