Police are searching for a brazen thief who made off with a Guide Dogs WA donation model dog from Kelmscott Stargate Shopping Centre on Friday afternoon.
The model dogs are replicas of Labrador seeing eye dogs and are common sights around suburban shopping centres.
Armadale Senior Sergeant Glenn Spencer said a man was seen picking up the dog and they were reviewing pictures and CCTV captured of him as part of their investigation.
“(The dog) is normally secured by a chain but it had been cut,” he said.
“Whether he’s cut it or someone else has cut it we don’t know.
“An independent customer has taken a photo of him and given it to centre staff.”
Snr Sgt Spencer said staff had seen the man at the centre previously.
The dog was found on Monday in an abandoned shopping trolley about a kilometre away from the shop.
Snr Sgt Spencer said police were now forensically examining it.
He said donation tin thefts were common but this was a unique case.
“Unfortunately its not uncommon, we quite often see it with the smaller ones that sit on counter tops,” he said.
“Quite often they will get stolen and that’s usually through misdirection.
“It’s usually one or two people going in and when the staff are distracted with something else they’ll snap the small chains that are used to tie them down and then they’re off with the money.
“It’s not uncommon but ones that large we don’t usually see those big ones going.”
Guide Dogs WA engagement marketing manager Donna Shaw said it was heart breaking to hear when their model dogs were stolen.
“The mini dog program is a vital component of our much-needed fundraising for the next generation of Guide Dogs in WA,” she said.
“It’s also a major element in raising awareness of our cause within the WA community.
“Each guide dog provides life-changing freedom, independence and companionship to a West Australian who is blind or vision impaired so it’s heartbreaking to hear when one of our collection dogs is stolen.”
Police were expected to release footage of the man on Friday.
Anyone who saw a man dragging along a model dog last Friday afternoon was asked to call police on 131 444.