Judge sets bond for man arrested in truck stolen with dog inside; search for dog continues

Updated: Jan. 3, 2020 at 9:22 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The man arrested Thursday in connection with a stolen truck case chose not to attend a hearing Friday night where a judge set bond.

Richard Rawlings, Jr., is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, according to Berkeley County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jeremy Baker.

A judge set a $50,000 surety bond for Rawlings. The judge also ordered Rawlings to have no contact with the owner of the vehicle.

North Charleston Police spotted the stolen vehicle Thursday and attempted to pull it over, Baker said. Deputies say Rawlings eventually abandoned the vehicle and led them on a foot chase in the Cross community where he was captured at about 4 p.m.

North Charleston Police said the truck was stolen from the parking lot of the Lowe’s on Northwoods Boulevard on Dec. 22. The truck’s owner says his 2-year-old yellow Lab mix, Bella, was in the truck at the time it was stolen.

Authorities say Rawlings has charges pending in Charleston County as well, and that if he bonds out of jail in Berkeley County, he will be transported to Charleston County to face those charges.

Bella, a yellow Lab who was in a pickup truck stolen from a North Charleston home improvement...
Bella, a yellow Lab who was in a pickup truck stolen from a North Charleston home improvement store parking lot on Dec. 22, remains missing.(Facebook)

But Bella was not in the truck when Rawlings was arrested on Thursday and she has not been found. Bella is microchipped but did not have a collar at the time the truck was stolen, according to a post on a Facebook page, “Find Bella of Charleston, SC,” which was started to help track any possible sightings.

A $10,000 reward is being offered.

Her owner says Bella weighs approximately 40 pounds, has a broken tail and a pink nose.

A post on the Facebook page Friday afternoon asked for volunteers Friday and Saturday night to search for the dog in the surrounding area of Northwoods Mall. The group claims Bella was last seen headed towards the Northwoods Mall Food Court entrance on Dec. 22 after she jumped out of the back window of the vehicle.

Volunteers will meet at 6:30 p.m. outside the food court of the mall, the post states.

The Facebook page advises anyone who sees her to call or text 1-833-MYBELLA to report sightings immediately. Anyone who sees her should not attempt to chase her, the page states.

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