Service dog stolen from Tempe hotel room found, returned to owner; suspect arrested

A man has been arrested after a woman's dog was stolen from a Tempe hotel room two weeks ago.

Jeremiah Young is accused of stealing a trained service dog, Lani, from the DoubleTree hotel off Broadway Road and Priest Drive on July 26.

Just days after the theft, Lani was recovered at the scene of a house fire.

Neighbors recognized Lani as the stolen dog due to previous FOX 10 coverage, and she was reunited with her owner.

Young now faces theft charges.

Dramatic rescue

On Aug. 2, we learned more about how Lani made it back to her owner - and it all started with a house fire.

"We got her out, noticed she was struggling, so we got to resuscitating her," says Matt Guzzardo with Phoenix Fire. "When we brought her out, she was unconscious, she was kind of gasping for air."

Guzzardo got out a high-flow oxygen mask and started rubbing her belly to keep her alert.

"We put some cold ice water on her and she kind of hopped right up and shook off and tired to walk, she was still a little weak on her legs there," he said.

What Guzzardo didn’t know at the time was that this wasn’t just any dog. It was Lani.

Police haven’t said anything about where Lani was, or what exactly happened in the days she was gone, but her owner, Andrea, says a FOX 10 viewer recognized Lani from this fire video, and that led to her coming home.

As for Guzzardo, he’s thankful he was able to help save someone's precious animal.

"Glad to help out that family and dog, and get them back reunited together," he said.

A criminal investigation into the original theft is still an ongoing investigation, Tempe PD said.

How Lani disappeared

Lani is not just a pet, but a specially trained seizure-alert service dog. 

"That dog is basically my life," Andrea Albornoz said.

"She's trained to be by my side in order for me to be safe," she said.

She had gone down to the lobby in her hotel to get coffee. She was only gone for five minutes.

When she got back, she saw the door was not latched all the way.

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"I pushed the door open and my dog was gone," she said.

She searched the hallways, asked other guests and the front desk. Lani was nowhere to be found.

"It's just been absolutely horrendous because I've been looking for her. On every platform on the internet. On Facebook, Craigslist to see if anybody is trying to make a profit out of her," she said.

Lani is priceless to Albornoz.

"I just hope that whoever has my dog understands this dog is worth more than money," she said.

Lani is truly her lifeline and best friend.

A $20,000 reward had been offered for anyone that could find her.

Map of where the hotel is at: