SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A happy reunion to report for a San Jose woman: her prized rescue dog is back in her warm embrace after thieves made off with Rusty -- along with her truck and stimulus payment.
Rusty is back where he belongs: in the arms of 67-year-old Beth Baker.
The San Jose woman almost lost her rescue dog, and a week later she still hasn't forgiven herself.
"I just feel, you know, stupid," she said.
She left her truck parked for just five minutes while she made a quick purchase in a store.
When she returned, Rusty had disappeared along with the truck.
"I said my truck's gone! You know, did anyone see anything? You know, what happened? What happened?" asked Baker.
The truck is her only means of transportation.
But in the moment, she could only think of Rusty.
"I was losing it, you know, because Rusty here, was in the truck. I was just praying, 'Please don't hurt my dog,'" she said.
Her son Brian put out pictures of Rusty on social media.
Someone he hasn't spoken to since high school responded by sending him a photo.
"And it looked like Rusty. My friend shared it with me and sure enough. It was Rusty," said Brian.
The thieves had apparently dumped Rusty on the side of the road and someone found him and took him into San Jose Animal Care, where Brian, Beth and Rusty reunited.
"He was so relieved to be out of there. He was jumping up and down and giving everyone kisses," Brian recalled.
With Rusty back, economic reality began to sink in.
"I don't have the funds to replace the truck. My head is just spinning," said Baker.
A concerned neighbor and neighborhood watch activist called her contacts at both the San Jose Police Department and 7 On Your Side.
Police helped recover Beth's lost phone with the "Track My Phone" app and put out a bulletin about the truck, a 1999 dark green Toyota Forerunner.
7 On Your Side also advised Beth how to replace her lost stimulus debit card, which was in the truck.
For lost economic impact payment checks, the IRS has issued guidance on tracing the payment to determine if the check was cashed or not. If it wasn't cashed, the IRS will send a new check; if it was, the IRS will send a claim package so that you can apply for a review to determine if they need to send a replacement payment. Lost stimulus debit cards can be reported for replacement at the Money Network website or by calling 800-240-8100.
Her neighbor is encouraging folks to make contributions to help Beth.
"Any donations for her to help her, especially if she's unable to recover her stimulus check," said Gloria Sciara.
"I'm just so blessed to have such wonderful people surrounding me," Baker said.
We've gotten late word the truck has been recovered. It sustained $600 in damage and the stimulus payment is still missing.
To contribute to Beth's GoFundMe, visit her page here.
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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