PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Norman Trask, an attorney working in Presque Isle, was driving his black Ford F-150 truck in the city when he stopped at the Star City IGA supermarket to pick up a few things on his way back home.
But before he could even make his way into the store, somebody jumped into his truck and drove off with it. Unbeknownst to the thief, inside Trask’s car was a 5-year-old Bernese mountain dog named Finn, who Trask occasionally brings to work with him from his home in Easton.
“The truck’s not a big deal, but our dog Finn was inside,” recalled Ellen Trask, Norman’s wife. An hour and half from when the theft was reported, Maine State Police had located the truck in Caribou, but Finn was not inside and still missing. That’s when Ellen took to social media to try to locate her lost dog.
“Facebook can be just an amazing tool if it’s used the right way,” Ellen Trask said. “A young man from Mars Hill said he had spotted Norm’s truck driving erratically and really fast in the area. And then later a young girl said ‘oh, I saw a Bernese mountain dog in Westfield.’ She had traveled the road often and it was a dog she’d never seen before.”
Hundreds of nearby residents also shared tips on social media and some began to form a search party, beginning with McBurnie Road in Presque Isle, but there still was no sign of Finn. Around 9 p.m. when the sky began to darken, Ellen Trask’s son Brad Trask and son-in-law Cody Humphrey began to look for him in the Westfield area where he had been spotted.
The men explored the wooded area nearby and called Finn’s name, but the dog didn’t show himself. The cellphone reception in the area is poor, and when Brad Trask returned to the street in order to make a phone call, there stood Finn.
“He was a little nervous at first, like he wasn’t sure it was somebody he knew,” Ellen Trask said. “But then when he realized it was Brad, he just ran over and jumped right in the truck.”
The alleged truck thieves, 25-year-old Joseph Oldenburg and 29-year-old Macie Jones, both of Caribou, were arrested by the Presque Isle Police Department and were still in jail Wednesday evening. They face 10 charges from the theft, including eluding a high-speed chase, refusing to submit to arrest, cruelty to animals and theft by unauthorized taking.
Despite her family being the targets of the theft, Ellen Trask said the ensuing support and assistance shown by so many people demonstrated the goodness in people.
“It was unbelievable, the amount of people that were searching for him. It just warmed my heart,” she said. “A lot of people have posted in various places about this whole thing and said ‘people are so bad and it’s terrible.’ But I’ll tell you right now, it just shows me how good people generally are, and there are a few bad people that are just down the wrong path. But they’re not bad, they just do bad things.”
Finn was uninjured from the entire ordeal, only hungry from having missed dinner.