A tail-wagging reunion after a terrier taken during a car theft in Prince George’s Co. is found safe

Gianni, a Boston terrier, was missing for weeks after Cary and Roxanne Zamilskis’ car was stolen with Gianni inside in March. To the Zamilskis immense pleasure, Prince George’s police located Gianni and reunited the pooch with the couple on Tuesday.

Just over two weeks ago, a stop to fill up on gas in Landover Hills, Maryland, was the beginning of a nightmare for a couple headed to their home in Pennsylvania from Florida.

On March 23, Cary Zamilski was outside their Land Rover and his wife Roxanne inside the gas station when someone stole their vehicle with their two Boston terriers, Gianni and Nina, inside.

Cary said he ran after the car, yelling to the thief that his dogs were still inside.

“It became obviously apparent that I wasn’t going to be able to reach them, and they were gone in the blink of an eye,” he said.

Cary said two people tried to help. One called 911, and the other jumped into their car and attempted to chase the stolen car.

The couple was in shock as they recounted to the police what had transpired only moments ago, and Prince George’s County police began looking for the stolen vehicle. Then, 45 minutes after the car was taken, Roxanne got a call from a woman in Fairmount Heights.

“She called me, and she said, your dog is underneath my vehicle without a leash,” Roxanne said. The dog the woman found was the Zamilskis’ 13-year-old Nina.

While relieved one of their dogs was found, they still feared for their 5-year-old pup Gianni. Once in a rental car that evening, the couple began searching the area for their dog but didn’t find him.

“My biggest fear was that if he’s not being seen, maybe he’s stuck outside somewhere or maybe he got hit by a car,” Roxanne said.

The couple’s car was also recovered, except it was totaled. Police told the Zamilskis it was used in an attempted carjacking.

Days passed, and the couple would return several times to look for Gianni, they even hired a professional dog tracker Tuesday morning to follow up on a couple leads, but they said the tracking dogs didn’t pick up Gianni’s scent.

Then, as they prepared to head home without Gianni again, they got a call from Prince George’s County police telling them the news they hoped for, Gianni had been found.

The police department posted the joyous reunion online as Gianni kissed his mother. The couple, who has since returned to their home in Pennsylvania, said they remained positive throughout the search and never gave up hope.

Cary and Roxanne Zamilski reunited with their dog Gianni, who was taken from them when the couple’s car was stolen in Landover Hills, Maryland in March. (Courtesy Cary and Roxanne Zamilski)

“Even when it was very, very hard to stay positive, you know, we stayed positive,” Cary said.

Now Gianni has been reunited with his sister, and they said the dog appeared healthy and taken care of. Gianni was also spoiled after being found, with Chick-fil-A from a detective and a bacon cheeseburger from his parents on the ride home.

The couple said they are very relieved and thankful for everyone who helped, from volunteers who searched the county to the county police department that they never gave up.

Police have not announced any arrests in the case, but the Zamilskis said they are not worried about that or the destroyed car because what they prayed for they got, Gianni home safe.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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