He delivered pizza to their Florida home. Then he stole something precious, cops say

Madeleine Marr
·2 min read

A Florida couple just wanting a Saturday night pizza at home ended up with a nightmare scenario: the loss of their beloved pet.

According to a release from the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, at approximately 7 p.m., officers responded to a local condominium in reference to a theft investigation.

A couple had ordered pizza from Gusto Italian restaurant via the Grubhub app. When the delivery man arrived, they told cops, he took something for the road: the couple’s puppy, Lexi, which had somehow gotten out into the hallway when the door opened.

On Saturday, January 30, 2021, at approximately 1855, officers of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department responded to...

Posted by City of Jacksonville Beach Police Department on Sunday, January 31, 2021

Investigators were able to obtain surveillance video from the condominium capturing the alleged incident. The footage in the elevator showed a suspect later identified as Arlinson Chilito tucking the brown teacup poodle into his delivery bag. Chilito, 22, is then seen exiting in his blue Ford Focus, “passing the lobby night staff on duty,” said a Facebook post from the agency.

The next evening, Chilito was located at his Jacksonville home with the stolen puppy and arrested on a grand theft charge, according to police. He was transported to the Duval County Jail and Lexi was safely returned home, said the release.

The dog’s owner Rick Block wrote of his and his wife’s relief on Facebook, but also called out Grubhub for hiring Chilito, who has a lengthy rap sheet, in the first place.

The Chicago-based food delivery app released a statement saying that the Florida man was not one of its drivers, but “using another contracted driver’s account without Grubhub’s permission or knowledge, which is a fraudulent misuse of our platform.”

The unnamed driver is now banned permanently from the platform, it added.

After the puppy was snatched, Block offered a $5,000 reward for her safe return. Now that money will go to the Jacksonville Beach Police Lodge for a job well done, he said on Facebook: “Jax Beach PD rocks!!!,” wrote the pet owner. “They were amazing. Truly.”