ALAMEDA -- Helen Bignone was hoping for good news when an Alameda police officer called her Wednesday night, asking for information about Deuce, the dog stolen from her during a purse snatching last month.
"He wanted to know about the chip that Deuce has embedded," the 80-year-old Bignone said. "I gave him the information, and I was hoping for a development, that Deuce might have been found. But I didn't ask."
A few hours later Bignone was watching "Wheel of Fortune" when Alameda police Sgt. Pat Wyeth and Detective Mark Reynolds arrived with the Yorkshire terrier.
"I was so happy," Bignone said. "Deuce came in like he always does and rubbed his nose on the carpet. He likes to do that. Then he ran outside into the backyard."
Two men stole Deuce from Bignone the afternoon of Oct. 30 while she was walking the 5-year-old terrier at Fountain Street and Encinal Avenue in Alameda.
One man simulated having a gun in his pocket and demanded the woman's purse and her dog, police said.
When Bignone refused to comply, one suspect grabbed the leash and pulled the 7-pound silver and light brown dog away while the second man grabbed her purse.
A short time later the men used Bignone's credit cards at two service stations in Oakland, where surveillance footage later helped investigators track down the suspects' blue 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera car in Stockton.
Christopher Orlando Perkins, 19, of Stockton was arrested Nov. 4 in connection with the robbery and remains in custody.
His accomplice also has been tentatively identified, Alameda police Lt. Sean Lynch said today. The individual also is wanted for a parole violation on an unrelated case, Lynch said.
After his arrest, Perkins told police that he had abandoned Deuce at Holiday Park in Stockton, which led Alameda investigators to contact police agencies, animal control officers and veterinarians throughout San Joaquin County over the past few days in an attempt to locate the dog.
The work paid off Wednesday evening, when a 24-year-old Stockton woman reported purchasing a dog that matched Deuce's description on the street for $20.
The woman had learned about the Alameda robbery from news reports, Lynch said.
"She said she bought the dog from a couple who was walking it with a wire, or a makeshift leash," he said. "It made her think the dog was probably not being well-cared for and so she decided to buy it."
The woman wishes to remain anonymous, he said.
After confirming with Stockton Animal Control Services that the animal was Deuce through his embedded chip, Wyeth and Reynolds picked up the dog and brought it back to the Island.
The animal was healthy and had not suffered any injuries.
Her home was especially lonely during the days Deuce was missing, Bignone said.
"He was always at the front door to greet me," she said. "Even when he was gone, I was expecting him to be jumping at my leg as I came and went. I would come in, and I would be walking gingerly because I was afraid that I would step on his feet. But of course he wasn't there."
Deuce seemed exhausted after his ordeal, she said.
"He slept on the bed all night," Bignone said the day after Deuce was found. "He usually gets up in the middle of the night. But not last night. And this morning, he was still sleeping."