HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Authorities are searching for the person who stole a car with a dog inside, eventually leaving the dog to die.
Bootsie was the name of the small dog.
Its owner left it inside the running car, a black Ford Escape SUV, parked outside the Big Easy Casino in Hallandale Beach.
That's when a thief forced his way inside the SUV, stealing it with the dog still inside.
The crime occurred on Feb. 19 just prior to midnight.
Roughly 16 hours later, the first person to notice the SUV was Yvonne Rella.
Rella is a member of the Italian American Civil League, where the SUV was oddly parked.
“I normally park in that spot and then I see this black car that looked like mine,” she said. "When I look in it, I saw this dog.
She said its engine was off, the windows were rolled up and the dog showed no signs of life.
"I was so sad, with the poor dog," she said.
The building is a mile away from the casino where the SUV and the dog were stolen.
It's possible the thief ditched the car after noticing the animal, but his actions led to the death of Bootsie, who was left trapped inside the vehicle on a day temperatures reached 84 degrees.
According to authorities, the suspect is described as a black or Hispanic male, in his 20′s or 30′s with long dreadlocks.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.