Good Samaritan Helps Girl, 7, Reunite with Stolen Dog


Mia Bendrat with Marleyphoto credit: Robert Miller

Mia Bendrat with Marley
photo credit: Robert Miller

A 7-year-old girl got the best present ever yesterday — she was reunited with her best friend, who’d been dognapped by a cold-hearted thief the day before.

“I couldn’t sleep last night without Marley smiling,” Mia Bendrat said of her little pal, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel stolen from in front of a Washington Heights grocery.

Her relieved mom, Angie Estrada, said, “It’s a Christmas miracle. Oh, yes!”

The hero of the holiday story is good Samaritan Tena Cohen, who was headed to the Greenmarket in Union Square at about 1:30 p.m. Monday when she heard a man yelling, “Dog for sale!”

“It looked nervous and sad, and was kind of an older dog,” Cohen said. “I figured it was stolen.’’

She offered to buy the pooch.

“I said I had $100. He said the guy who owns it wants more” and pointed to a man, Cohen recalled.

The supposed “owner’’ was “very stoned, on drugs,” said Cohen, who teaches Spanish at Brooklyn Tech HS. “He said he paid $3,200 for the dog, and had it for years.”

SAVIOR: Tena Cohen (above) paid $220 out of her own pocket to reunite Mia Bendrat with Marley. photo credit: Robert Miller

SAVIOR: Tena Cohen (above) paid $220 out of her own pocket to reunite Mia Bendrat with Marley.
photo credit: Robert Miller

Cohen then walked into a nearby Staples and made three debit-card purchases totaling $220.

Then she returned them for cash and went back to negotiate.

“I said, ‘Look, this is all the money I have,’ ” Cohen said. “He gave me the dog. I gave him the money.”

She took Marley to a vet and also called cops. Both men were gone by the time police arrived. But last night they picked up 29-year-old Brad Bacon, of Washington Heights, and charged him with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

The vet checked out the dog for free and held him overnight. Cohen called a group called Cavalier Rescue USA.

Its president, Carolyn Stigler, remembered the story about Marley in yesterday’s Post.

Stigler contacted the vet, who called the Post reporter. She arranged for the dog to be taken to Mia’s family, to see if it was Marley. It was.

“This was my daughter’s Christmas wish,” said Estrada.

Until then, the family had been devastated.

“It was so sad,” Estrada added. “She sat in Marley’s nook and refused to dress up the tree.”

The happy ending came just in time.

“I can’t believe a grinch would steal our Marley,” Estrada said. “But the grinch didn’t win.’’

Mia chimed in, “I’m not going to let Marley go now, no matter what!”


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2 thoughts on “Good Samaritan Helps Girl, 7, Reunite with Stolen Dog

  1. When I saw this story I uploaded it immediately. It was such a beautiful thing for the woman to do. The little girl was crushed after her pet was taken and didn’t even want to decorate the tree.* I absolutely love the photo (above) of her and Marley, after they were reunited.

    *The story vaguely reminds me of the time when I was a child and my mother said if I kept a stray kitten which I found – and my step-father said I could have – I wouldn’t get any Christmas presents. I chose the kitten and sure enough, there were no presents under the tree on Christmas morning. I didn’t care, I was so happy to have my little kitten to play with. 🙂

  2. My absolutely famous Christmas story! What a wonderful person Tena Cohen is!! I can’t imagine what was going through her mind that would send her to get money to buy a dog like that! I love her and don’t even KNOW her!!

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