NEWARK -- A missing dog was back with its owners and a suspected dog thief was behind bars on Monday thanks to a neighbor with a keen eye, police said.

The chain of events began about 8:30 p.m. Friday when a Newark man spotted a transient in his neighborhood walking what he described as a "beautiful (Siberian) husky", Cmdr. Mike Carroll said.

The man told police he suspected something was wrong because he had never seen the transient, a homeless person known to frequent the area, with "such a nice dog" in the past.

Police learned that earlier that day a 6-year-old husky named Chloe had escaped her yard on Orleans Drive and that its owners had dialled 911 and asked a dispatcher to have police call them if their dog turned up.

Police Officer Matt Warren soon located the transient -- identified as 57-year-old Robert Maldonado -- on Blackwood Drive arrested him on suspicion of theft after learning he had allegedly tried to sell the dog. He was also arrested for outstanding warrants for threatening an officer, being intoxicated in public, attempting to steal a vehicle and driving under the influence in connection to two separate incidents that allegedly took place in Newark and Fremont.

Maldonado was booked at Santa Rita Jail where on Monday he remained on $25,000 bail. The dog has since been returned to its owners.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.