DALLAS – Norman Junge was cleaning out a tank at a west Dallas metal recycling plant when his truck was stolen and eventually led police on a high-speed chase.
But Junge, a burly, bearded fellow who spoke to the media in a tank top and a trucker’s cap, wasn’t worried about his Ford F-250 or the tank-bearing trailer hooked up to the back.
His 10-year-old dog, Mia, was in the car with the suspect.
“My first reaction is this dog. As far as that’s concerned,” he said, gesturing toward the truck, “that’s just material goods.”
Mia is a “shop dog” who goes wherever Junge goes, he said. She was hanging out in the truck while Junge and a few others were power-washing an oil-water separator at CMC Recycling near I-30 and Westmoreland Road.
Junge says a man – who may have arrived in a different stolen car – got in Junge’s truck and started driving away.
“I threw my hard hat at the window and then I started pounding on the window and trying to open the door,” he said. “Because my dog’s in there.”
The suspect instead tried to run Junge and a few coworkers over to get through the plant’s only exit, Junge said.
What ensued was a nearly half-hour-long police pursuit through several cities. WFAA and other media outlets streamed the tense event live.
Mia, who appears to be some sort of Maltese mix, was hanging out the window throughout the chase. When the suspect eventually stopped, Mia was in the suspect’s lap and hung onto the door as he exited the car.
"When he surrendered and then opened the car door she was hanging over the door and I was worried she was going to fall," Norman's wife, Kimberly Junge, said from their Lewisville home. She had been watching and commenting on WFAA's live stream of the chase.
Norman said it was no surprise seeing Mia in the lap of a stranger at the wheel.
“She’s the friendliest dog in the world,” he said, adding that it would be modus operandi for Mia to be licking the face of the driver. After all, she’s used to riding along with Junge’s co-workers on job sites.
"He's this big, burly, strong guy with this little tiny white lap dog and he goes into work with her," Kimberly Junge said.
The Junges weren’t the only ones concerned for Mia as she hung out the open window during the chase and in front of officers with weapons drawn.
The hearts and minds of viewers watching WFAA’s live stream of the pursuit were also solely with Mia.
"That poor little doggie is so confused," Pat Moffitt wrote. "Somebody please pick him up and cuddle him and get him into a safe car. Don't leave the dog in the truck."
"Please don’t hurt the dog," Susie McCoslin commented.
"People probably more worried about the dog because it's innocent whereas the driver broke the law, became a criminal, and endangered others," Cariss Chandler-Dooley said.
"Get the dog out please as a precaution and back to his owners or the rest of his family if he belongs to the theif," wrote Barbara Cauthen.
"Focus on the dog! Poor little pup was kidnapped!," a woman who goes by Beth DM said.
"Good job officers. No injuries, no one got hurt, beat or shot," Mimi Morgan wrote. "They got the bad guy! Now save that little puppy!"
“Thank you for showing this. The whole metroplex was concerned about that poor pup,” commenter Laura Clifton wrote on another post.
Norman was given a police escort to the scene where the chase ended to retrieve Mia, according to a Facebook comment by Kimberly. And at the end of the day, Mia's family wants everyone to know that their dog was simply an innocent bystander.
"I didn't want Mia's reputation ruined, she's a good dog," Kimberly said.
Watch Junge's reunion with Mia below or here.