By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities couple will be able to sleep Monday night now that their pets are home. Their dogs were inside their car when it was stolen.

Koda and Willow were in the car when a man drove off with it outside a Holiday gas station in Maplewood Sunday night.

The couple has gone from describing this experience as a living hell to feeling so much relief that they’re in tears.

In just over 24 hours, their dogs have gone from stolen to returned.

Much of that is thanks to thousands of people on social media.

Hillary Volkman says she and her boyfriend ran inside the gas station Sunday night, but left the car running to keep the dogs warm. It was gone by the time they got outside.

Maplewood police shared a surveillance camera picture of the possible thief on their Facebook page. It was shared more than 4,000 times.

maplewood car theft suspect Stolen Dogs Returned To Twin Cities Couple

(credit: Maplewood Police)

Volkman said the suspected thief’s sister got in contact with her.

Volkman’s boyfriend set up a meeting with the woman around 9 p.m. Monday at a nearby gas station to get the dogs back.

“Rhe girl that met with him was very nice, very apologetic. Unfortunately she didn’t have a lot of additional information, no location of her brother or the vehicle. All she was able to tell us was that the girls were taken care of,” Volkman said.

Volkman says arranging the meeting was scary. They weren’t sure if the thief’s sister would have demands in exchange for the dog — but that didn’t happen.

Volkman says police were notified about the exchange.

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