The decorated ex-Marine uses intelligence training to track down a woman’s kidnapped Yorkie dog
A former Marine Corps intelligence operative who helped apprehend al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq used his skills to track down a Maryland dognapper after the sudden disappearance of a Yorkie devastated a family.
Rick Machamer, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, learned that Raquel Witherspoon’s beloved pet had been stolen after watching the local TV news and believed he could help.
Witherspoon received texts along with video of her dog Avery, a Yorkie locked in a cage, along with a $1,200 ransom note.
Despite filing the case with police, she was told it would be a week before officers could even begin looking into the case, so she went to local media and noted that the dog was an emotional support animal for their 12-year-old daughter, Semaj.
Avery, Yorkie, was kidnapped at Maryland resident Raquel Witherspoon’s doorstep
Rick Machamer, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, found out about Raquel Witherspoon’s theft, left, on the local TV news of her daughter’s therapy dog, Semaj, right, and thought he could help
It caught the attention of Rick Machamer, a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who used his skills honed on the battlefields of Iraq to track down a dog napper
Raquel Witherspoon’s Yorkshire Terrier Avery was stolen and caught on camera
Machamer, who owns a Norwegian Elkhound and a Pomeranian, was concerned at the thought of someone stealing his beloved pets and reached out to the family.
“I couldn’t understand my reaction when someone took one of my dogs, especially when they sent a picture of one in a cage,” he told the Washington Post.
The former military’s skills lay in tracking and intelligence gathering. Such was his skill that he was honored for participating in operations helping to capture al-Qaeda leaders in al-Anbar Province, Iraq.
He offered to help Witherspoon track down her dog, and she quickly agreed. Avery was dognapped in June, with Machamer’s involvement in the pet’s rescue only coming to light this weekend.
Machamer, who runs a corporate intelligence firm that conducts opposition research for political campaigns, first used his resources to track down the dog-napper’s phone number.
Witherspoon’s door cam captures the dog being kidnapped by a red-haired suspect
Avery, a little Yorkie, was kidnapped on the doorstep of her Maryland home
He ran the suspect’s phone number through an online database and used software to extract geolocation data from video of Avery in her cage, but it turned up no leads.
He then sifted through customer reviews of local salons near Witherspoon’s home, hoping he could find the culprit thanks to her distinctive red-dyed hair, which was clearly visible on door-cam video. Again, no useful information could be collected.
Machamer then decided to run the Dognapper number through his personal Instagram account to see if any profiles were connected to the number.
Incredibly, Machamer found a lead via the social media platform linking it to a body piercing shop near Witherspoon’s home and a post that also linked to the owner’s personal Instagram account.
Machamer tracked down al-Qaeda insurgents on the battlefields in Iraq. He saw Witherspoon’s request for Avery’s return on a local news channel and decided he had to help
Machamer discovered the owner had posted about another dog who went missing in Witherspoon’s neighborhood before Avery was kidnapped.
A bit of Googling brought him to a social media post about the missing dog.
There was even a picture of the family speaking to police about the dog, along with someone who looked distinctly like the dog napper from Witherspoon’s doorbell cam. The photo even showed the address of the house.
Four days after Avery went missing, Witherspoon also received a tip that someone in the same house, who had just been tracked down by Machamer, was actually behind the dognapping.
“I thought, ‘They brought him back!’ said Witherspoon’s daughter Semaj, pictured above. “I didn’t want to face the reality of not seeing my dog anymore.”
Together, the couple turned the information over to police, and Avery was recovered two days later after a Prince George’s County Police Department detective went to the home and retrieved the dog.
“I thought, ‘They brought him back!’ said Witherspoon’s daughter Semaj. “I didn’t want to face the reality of not seeing my dog anymore.
A 16-year-old girl has been charged with theft and admitted involvement in the theft, along with attempting to blackmail Witherspoon in exchange for the pet. She pleaded guilty before trial.
Dognapping is becoming increasingly common in the US, with the American Kennel Club estimating about 1,500 cases per year.
French Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Yorkshire Terriers and Labrador Retrievers are the breeds most sought after by criminals.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11636361/Decorated-ex-Marine-uses-intelligence-training-track-womans-abducted-Yorkie-dog.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 The decorated ex-Marine uses intelligence training to track down a woman’s kidnapped Yorkie dog