Police are hunting a brazen thief who snatched a dog from outside its home in rural Perthshire.
Stunned owner Ally McLaren watched in horror as his two-year-old Jack Russell terrier was bundled into a waiting car.
Asked what he was doing, the stranger replied “nothing” before speeding away from the property.
The five-door car, which was bought recently in Blairgowrie and was uninsured, was later found abandoned in a field.
Police are now trawling through hours of security camera footage as part of an investigation that has been bolstered by thousands of social media users who shared the owner’s video of the suspect’s car outside his home.
The thief struck at the house in Meikleour, near Blairgowrie, at about 9.30am on Tuesday.
“It’s shocking,” said 20-year-old Mr McLaren. “I’m still in a state of disbelief.
“I’ve been working from home since March, and we’ve got four working dogs in kennels outside the house.
“There’s another dog inside who barks every time someone comes near.
“This morning something set him off, so I went to look out the living room window.”
He said: “I saw this man standing by the kennels and he just picked up the dog in his arms.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
Mr McLaren, an advisor for a local water services firm, said: “I ran outside, grabbing the phone as I went.
“I shouted over to the guy: What are you doing?
“He went: ‘Nothing’, and then got in his car and drove off. I whipped out my phone and took a video of him.”
The man was wearing blue Ellesse tracksuit bottoms, a camouflage jacket, black mask and blue Beanie hat.
He spoke with a slight lisp.
“He would have just walked over, unhooked the kennel door and lifted him out,” said the owner.
“My dad has worked here for more than 30 years and he has never heard of anything like this happening.
“I don’t know what the motivation was, but I’ve heard that since lockdown dogs are selling at a much higher price.”
He said the theft happened just three weeks after a stranger came to the door of the remote property, having apparently walked through nearby woods.
“He seemed very suspicious, but we thought at least he knows now that the house is occupied during the day, so he’ll leave us alone,” he said.
Images of the car and the stolen dog were shared widely across social media. The search was backed by the Missing Pets, Perth and Kinross group which has urged followers to keep an eye out for the brown-and-white-coloured Jack Russell Terrier.
Local MP Pete Wishart warned others to be vigilant and keep their pets out of sight, saying he was “sad to report that dog thieves are clearly operating in the Perthshire area”.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Officers were called following a report that a dog had been stolen from a property in Meikleour, near Blairgowrie, on Tuesday.
“Enquiries are ongoing.”
Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101, quoting incident number 0752 of October 20.