Teen brings back stolen service dog after blind owner pleads for return

HARVEY, Ill. (WLS/CNN) - A blind Illinois man has his guide dog back after some teens allegedly took the dog from his backyard, but later, one of them had a change of heart.

Kevin Coachman, 58, and his service dog, Lucca, have been paired together for three months. The 58-year-old became completely blind a few years ago after he was shot multiple times during a carjacking. (Source: WLS/CNN)

Kevin Coachman, 58, is keeping his service dog, Lucca, a little closer just hours after his safe return Saturday morning.

The purebred German shepherd was stolen from Coachman’s backyard three days prior, and ever since, his owner had been praying for his return.

"I'm so glad to have my guide dog back, my friend and my eyes,” Coachman said.

Coachman’s prayers were answered when he got a phone call from a neighborhood teen, who said his friends had taken Lucca, and he knew it was wrong. The teen brought Lucca back.

"I was sitting right here, and he walked up and gave it to me and told me his name and told me what he was doing," Coachman said.

On Friday, Coachman pleaded for Lucca’s return in a news story about how thieves had taken him from the backyard of his home earlier that week. The duo had been running errands then walked home from the train station.

“I got him home and took him straight to the backyard, while I went in to feed him and get him water, and when I came back out, my dog was gone,” Coachman said.

Since word of Lucca’s return, there’s been a steady stream of well-wishers and support on Coachman’s doorstep.

“When I heard him say to please return his dog or at least to be good to the dog because he’s a good dog, it made me cry,” neighbor Gineen O’Neil said.

While the ordeal may have left some bitter, Coachman says it has only renewed his faith in the goodness of people.

"When you do right, right will prevail,” he said.

Coachman and Lucca were paired together three months ago by the Seeing Eye Foundation, an organization on the East Coast that helps the visually impaired. The 58-year-old became completely blind a few years ago after he was shot multiple times during a carjacking.

Copyright 2020 WLS, Donna Coachman via CNN. All rights reserved.