Footballer Daniel Sturridge’s joy as his stolen dog is returned

Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has confirmed his dog, who he said was stolen from a house in Los Angeles, has been found.

Speaking in a video on Instagram the 29-year-old thanked social media users for helping find his Pomeranian Lucci, after his appeal for information went viral this week.

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"Lucci has officially been brought home," he told his 3.5 million followers.

"Absolutely delighted – just want to say a big thank you to everyone on social media for supporting us and raising awareness."

Sturridge said he and some friends went to south LA last night at "about half 11" to pick up the dog after a tip off.

The dog's reappearance comes after local rapper Killa Fame, shared pictures of Lucci to Twitter.

Lucci in Mr Washington's car
Lucci in Mr Washington's car

Killa Fame told the PA his nephew had found the dog near 8800 South Central Avenue in Los Angeles.

"I took my nephew to the store about 9pm last night," he said.

"He walked to the store and came back with this gorgeous dog.

"I was like 'let's keep it' and I put it in my car.

"Then a friend of mine walked past and said 'this dog is famous, it's the dog from the news ... they're offering 30,000 dollars for it'."

Killa Fame then shared a picture with Sturridge on Twitter of the dog in his car, where he lives south Los Angeles with his family, with the caption: "Is this Lucci ?"

Killa Fame said Sturridge later made contact with him and organised to meet with him, arriving with "around seven" people "at 1am".

The father of four shared photos of himself and his family with Sturridge as the footballer came to collect Lucci.

But after handing the dog back, he tweeted: Found @DanielSturridge dog Lucci by me and my nephew... no sizable reward .. so dishonest lies."

He then accused Sturridge of not paying up because the dog was found by a "black man".

Speaking to the Sun, Killa Fame claimed the striker did not even say thanks when he picked him up. He added: "He spent less than five minutes here. He earns thousands per week – yet he only gave a homeless family $400."

Sturridge with Mr Washington's family
Sturridge with Mr Washington's family
Mr Washington and Sturridge
Mr Washington and Sturridge

Los Angeles Police Department are investigating the incident at Sturridge's home in the city, but could not confirm to PA that the dog had been returned or whether any arrests had been made.

Sturridge is without a club after being released by Champions League winners Liverpool this summer.