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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 15:13 GMT
Gang hold priest's dog to ransom
A gang of thieves are demanding a £3,000 ransom from a catholic priest for the safe return of his dog.
Rosa, a four-year-old Welsh Terrier, was in the back of Father David Lloyd's car when it was stolen from outside his home at Saint Peter and the English Martyrs church near Dudley on Saturday evening.
His mobile phone was also stolen during the incident and the thieves used it to demand a £3,000 ransom from him.
Calls were also made to parishioners threatening to kill the animal.
Father Lloyd's Volvo estate was later found abandoned and burnt out in Tipton, West Midlands.
Rosa has been his constant companion since she was six-weeks-old and Father Lloyd is appealing to the thieves for her safe return.
He told BBC Midlands Today: "Everybody loves her.
"She comes into the church and greets everybody and if she can steal a glove, or scarf, she's very happy with that but there is no malice in her."
Speaking of the thieves, he said: "I can't do anything else but forgive them, can I?
"Because I can't carry them for the rest of my life for what they've done."
Father Lloyd's parishioners are just as upset.
One said: "He rang up and told me they'd stolen his car and gone off with the dog.
"It's very upsetting for everybody."
Another said: "She's like a child in the church.
"She comes to greet us all. We just hope they find her."
Father Lloyd is offering a reward of whatever he can afford to get his dog back, safe and well.
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