The puppy which sparked a nationwide hunt after being stolen by a thief posing as a delivery driver was owned by a multi-millionaire – sparking fears it may have been taken in a targeted attack.
Twiglet the 16-month-old Dachshund was taken on Wednesday, with video footage quickly circulating on social media showing the puppy being ‘snatched’ by a hammer-wielding robber.
The dog belongs to Jo Vindis, 43, and her husband Jamie, 47, who is the managing director of Vindis Group Limited, which makes £47million a year.
Their home in Essex – where only the beloved pet was stolen and nothing else – is worth at least £1million.
Essex Police today did not respond to the suggestion the pet may have been targeted for ransom or if it was part of their investigation. It did say it was still probing the case.
Disturbing footage of Twiglet – who cost £2,000 – being taken went viral after the family desperately shared it online but on Thursday night they received a tip-off.
Are you the person who rescued Twiglet? E-mail: email@example.com
Jamie Vindis said the family was ‘blown away’ by people who had helped get Twiglet back
BACK WHERE SHE BELONGS: Miniature dachshund Twiglet back in the arms of owner Jo Vindis, 43
The dog belongs to Jo Vindis, 43, and her husband Jamie, 47, who is the managing director of Vindis Group Limited, which makes £47million a year
Twiglet (pictured) was bought as an eight-week-old puppy. She is now 16-months-old and has a microchip
Mr Vindis was contacted on Facebook by an apparent Good Samaritan who had seen the appeal and then been offered the pet for sale. They pretended not to realise it was Twiglet and paid £700 before informing the family.
It is understood police then went to Bedfordshire to collect the animal.
His wife told MailOnline this morning she did not think the dog had been specifically targeted.
But she said: ‘But I don’t think it could have been entirely opportunistic. He must have been looking at the properties and saw no-one was in.
‘It is a quiet, rural and there is not a lot of through traffic. The idea that it could have been a dognapping did go through my mind, but we didn’t get a ransom note or anything like that so I don’t think so.
‘Somebody got in touch with my husband on Facebook after we did the appeal saying they had bought the dog.
Footage showed the moment the alleged thief broke into the family home ‘dressed as a delivery driver to steal the dog’
Essex Police had launched an appeal to locate Twiglet after she was abducted from her home
‘That person had seen the appeal and pretended they hadn’t realised who the dog was.
‘They got in touch with Jamie and the police went to get the dog which was in Bedfordshire by then.
‘Twiglet is back home running around the garden, she seems to be back to her normal self.’
The beloved pet was reunited with the couple and their two children, 12 and 14, by 11pm last night.
Mr Vindis is the managing director of motoring business the Vindis Group, which was founded in 1960 by former spitfire pilot Frank Vindis.
His sons Gary and Nigel were involved in the firm as managers but after Nigel’s death from illness in April 2013 Gary announced the appointment of his son, Jamie, into the position of Managing Director.
16-month-old puppy Twiglet was ‘snatched’ away from the Vindis family’s home by a man pretending to be a delivery driver
In the distressing video the man can be seen grappling with Twiglet before abducting her
Publicly viewable accounts for Vindis Group Limited said it made £47million profit in 2021.
The group says it has a network of Audi, Bentley, Ducati, Škoda, SEAT, CUPRA, Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle retailers over six counties.
Twiglet’s abduction was met with an outpouring of support from dog owners up and down the country when the shocking footage circulated on social media showing the dog attempting to resist as she was dragged away from the family home.
The clip showed the puppy trying to dodge the thief wearing a hi-vis jacket and blue jeans as he tried to scoop her up.
Mr Vindis posted on Facebook he thought the media exposure had left Twiglet ‘too hot to handle’ for any thief to hang on to.
He added ‘We can’t thank everyone enough for all of the posts and reposts and noise that has meant that she most likely did become ‘too hot to handle’.
‘We are blown away by how amazing people have been and want to thank you all so so much.’
The mother revealed that her two children (son pictured with Twiglet, left and with daughter, right) have been left ‘very upset’ by the ordeal but ‘luckily weren’t at home’
The Vindis family bought Twiglet when she was just eight weeks old
One man alleged that the horrendous incident could have been planned due to the popularity of Twiglet’s breed
Ms Vindis, who said they paid £2,000 for Twiglet after dog prices inflated during Covid, added: ‘She’s not as much as the designer breeds but certainly people are prepared to pay quite a lot for them.’
The mother revealed that her two children have been left ‘very upset’ by the ordeal but ‘luckily they weren’t at home.’
‘They are very close [with Twiglet]. It’s just disbelief at the moment. She was an absolutely adored member of the family. It was the first puppy they [the kids] had ever had.
‘We had a miniature dachshund before they were born but she died at 14 in May last year. Three months after that was when we got Twig as a puppy. It’s their first experience with a puppy growing up, they are very bonded to her.’
Ms Vindis said that Twiglet is a ‘very loving, very affectionate’ puppy who is ‘very much a typical Dachshund’.
She added: ‘They bark a lot, and seem quite feisty but are very loyal and gentle. It’s just very upsetting.’