Police say stolen truck recovered, dog still missing

Harry Perissi
Harry Perissi
Heather Perissi
Heather Perissi
Millie (Source: Harry and Heather Perissi)
Millie (Source: Harry and Heather Perissi)
Sgt. Neil Johnson
Sgt. Neil Johnson

Louisville, KY - By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A man is behind bars accused of crossing state lines with a stolen truck and a 2 ½-year-old lab left inside. Victor Burba is charged with theft, auto theft, burglary, criminal mischief, assault and receiving stolen property.

On June 1, Harry Perissi and his wife, Heather, reported their truck and dog stolen. Perissi said he parked his car in front of Lowe's Home improvement Store in Clarksville, Indiana to buy trees for his landscaping business. When he went inside the store, Harry left his Labrador Retriever, Millie, inside the truck.

"{I} rolled up the windows. Left the dog in there and left the keys in there, not thinking anyone would ever jump in the truck with an 85 pound dog in it," Perissi said.

But someone did, taking the truck and its believed Millie too. Perissi said he continues to feel guilty about the decision he made that day and says he will never leave his keys in the ignition again.

"It's like a bad dream that I'm not waking up from," said Perissi.

11 days after Perissi made a report with the Clarksville Police Department, his truck was found in Kentucky by detectives with the Oldham County Police Department as they investigated a report about another crime.

On June 11, Oldham County officers responded to a Crestwood home on Timothy Way. Sergeant Neil Johnson said Burba broke into his sister's garage for a washer and dryer that he had already posted for sale on Craigslist the day before. Johnson said a family member was inside the home and called police. Burba's sister was also called to hurry home and when she arrived, Johnson said she blocked the driveway to prevent Burba from leaving.

"When people are stealing, they'll steal from anybody and that's the sad part of it," said Johnson.

Johnson said Burba fought with his sister, trying to get her car keys. Once police arrived, Johnson said Burba took off, leaving behind the truck. But there was no sign of Millie. In fact, Johnson said their department did not know there was a report about a missing dog until today.

"I guess we always kinda hoped in the beginning that he'd let her out and she would find her own way home. Now, in a way, I kinda hope he gave her to somebody," Heather Perissi said.

Johnson said they traced the truck to the southern Indiana couple through the VIN number.

"They ran the license plate. The license plate had been switched. The license plate belonged to the truck owner, but it was a Kentucky tag. When they ran the vehicle ID number it came back to the Indiana address with their driver license plate," said Johnson.

Meanwhile, the Perissis want answers. They want to know what happened to their dog, Millie. The couple said they are willing to give Burba the reward money they collected, if it leads them back to Millie.

"The hard part is her being out in the weather and the thunderstorms, the heat, and just not knowing," Harry Perissi said.

The couple hopes they hear news about their beloved Millie soon, even if it is knowing she is safe with another family. It has been 16 days since she went missing.

"This comes down to a really rotten person who did a really rotten thing and we hope what will come out of it is that someone will do the right thing," Heather Perissi said.

Millie is an 85 pound black lab/mix. She had a yellow collar and a rabies tag from Allison Lane Animal Hospital when she was reported missing. If you have seen her, call Harry Perissi at (812) 207-7697 or Oldham County Police at (502) 222-0111.

Burba's sister called WAVE 3 Thursday night. When asked about the case she said, "Hopefully he will get the help he needs now".

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