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Quarterly Patrol Dog Awards 2005
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USPCA REGION THREE
2005 PATROL CASE OF THE YEAR

DFC BART RUPPENTHAL AND K9 BAYCO
FREDERICK COUNTY MD SHERIFF’S OFFICE

On June 4, 2005 at approximately 9:47 PM, the Frederick County, MD Sheriff's Office K9 team of Deputy First Class Bart Ruppenthal and K9 Bayco responded to a residential area for an armed robbery that had just occurred. Within minutes, Deputies swarmed the area and established a perimeter. A Corporal observed a black male run out of a wood line in the area and stopped him. The subject was out of breath, sweating heavily and had an elevated pulse. The Corporal identified the subject and the victim was brought to the area but could not positively identify the subject. The victim said the suspect was wearing dark jeans, a gray hooded sweatshirt, dark gloves, a "scream" mask over his head and he was brandishing a sawed off shotgun. The detained subject was released.

The K9 Team went to the area of the robbery and prepared to conduct a track in an attempt to locate, identify and if necessary, apprehend the suspect. Two deputies with rifles accompanied the K9 team. The K9 team started at the rear of a residence. DFC Ruppenthal cast Bayco in the area and immediately located the track. Bayco headed east and crossed a construction silt fence. The track continued along an asphalt bike path. Bayco continued east across a grass field towards the rear of a school. Bayco then circled back to the silt fence. Bayco again followed the bike path and headed north towards the school. The track left the path and turned northeast to a grassy area in the rear of the school. Bayco crossed the school's ball fields and exited through an opening in the fence. Bayco then tracked through a dense 20 foot wide wood line. On the other side, Bayco turned east along the edge of the tree line for 200 feet. Bayco then gave a hard jerk and jumped into the tree line. DFC Ruppenthal saw that Bayco had a blue backpack in his mouth. In the same spot was the gray hooded sweatshirt, black gloves and "scream" mask. The backpack contained: 2 packs of cigarettes, 2 stolen cell phones, a stolen wallet with cash and a sawed off 16 gauge shotgun which was stolen from New Jersey.

Deputies recovered the evidence and Bayco continued to track. The track left the wood line and went between townhouses into a common area. The track continued across an asphalt parking area. It crossed a street and between townhouses into another common area and then through a wooded area out of the area where the Corporal had detained the subject earlier.

The subject was located later in the morning with DFC Ruppenthal and K9 Bayco providing perimeter support while the arrest was made.


USPCA REGION THREE
4th QUARTER PATROL CASE 2005

Cpl Paul Kakucka and K9 Koda
Montgomery County, MD Police Department

On November 4, 2005, Corporal Paul Kukucka and K-9 Koda of the Montgomery County, MD Police Department responded to assist patrol officers with a robbery that had just occurred. Two suspects robbed a victim of a cell phone and were seen running down the street. While enroute to the call, an officer spotted the suspects and gave chase. However, he soon lost them in the area of Lee Ave and Park Ave.

Minutes later Sgt. Pettaway, Gaithersburg Police radioed that one of the suspects was
running down Park Ave. During this time, Corporal Kukucka was traveling on Park Ave and observed the suspect run by with Sgt. Pettaway in foot pursuit. The suspect ran up to Brookes Ave and made a right. In an attempt to cut the suspect off, Corporal Kukucka exited the vehicle with K-9 Koda and ran toward Russell Ave and Lee Ave. A perimeter was established and a search of the backyards between Lee Ave and Brookes Ave proved negative. Perimeter units then cleared the scene. One suspect had already been taken into custody.

Approximately 10 minutes later after the perimeter was released, a possible sighting of
the second suspect was reported at Lakeforest Mall near the Sears loading dock. This proved negative but, while there, Corporal Kukucka spoke with Sgt. Pettaway who was also on the scene at Sears. After speaking with him, Corporal Kukucka was not convinced that an adequate search was conducted partly due to confusion regarding where the suspect was last seen running. Sgt. Pettaway advised that the suspect was last observed at Brookes Ave and Park Ave.

Corporal Kukucka returned to this area, which was now almost 1 hour after the incident, and cast K-9 Koda in an attempt to locate a track. K-9 Koda started tracking to the left side of the pool, located at 101 Park Ave. The track continued into the back lot and up to a group of trees where the suspect was located lying flat on his stomach trying to conceal himself. He was then taken into custody without further incident. Located at the place of apprehension was the victim's cell phone taken in the robbery.

Corporal Kukucka s persistence and Koda's ability locate and follow an hour-old track
resulted in the apprehension of a dangerous felon.

 

USPCA REGION THREE
3rd QUARTER PATROL CASE 2005

Cpl Matt Heimberger and K9 Mako
Arlington County Police

On July 17, 2005, at approximately 6:45 AM, Arlington County, VA Police patrol units received lookout information of an attempt car jacking that had just occurred. The car and suspect lookout were similar to ones that had been committed in Arlington and Alexandria, VA and the District of Columbia over a three day period. The car jacking suspects were always armed.

An Arlington patrol unit spotted the car and stopped them. The suspects complied initially, but four out of the five suspects suddenly ran from the car before backup units arrived. A perimeter was established and for more than two hours, multiple foot pursuits occurred, resulting in the capture of all but one suspect. K9 Units were called in to conduct both area searches of yards for suspects and article searches for a firearm. The apprehended suspects were taken for interviews by detectives. During one interview, a suspect admitted to having a gun. However, he said he had thrown it away during the chase. He was unsure where he was when he threw it, and did not know the area or a specific location. Detectives needed the gun as key evidence for making a solid case. Equally, patrol units wanted to locate the gun because of the urban environment ands concerns that a citizen or child may find the loaded weapon at a later time. One K9 team worked an entire area south of the initial spot of the pursuit, but came up empty for the firearm.

At 8:00 AM, K9 Mako and Corporal Matt Heimberger were called in from home to help with the search. Working the areas north and west of the incident, the K9 team worked along the sidewalks near a group of high rise buildings for hours. The area of the incident was large in size, including 12 - 15 square blocks of apartment buildings, single family homes, businesses, an elementary school and various side streets and roadways.

At 4:00 PM (nearly ten hours after the initial bail out), K9 Mako alerted to a thick, waist high bush near a busy apartment building, five blocks from the scene. K9 Mako dove into the bush, emerging with a .32 caliber small, black pistol in his mouth. It was later identified as the weapon used in the car jackings throughout the three day spree.

All suspects that were charged are awaiting trial. They admitted to committing well over one hundred car jackings and auto thefts in the Metro area. Without the use of the K9 fro article searching, the firearm would not have been found.


USPCA REGION THREE
1st QUARTER PATROL CASE 2005

Master Patrol Officer Kevin Jennings and K9 Draco
Woodbridge, VA Department of Police

On January 29, 2005 at 10:30 PM, Master Patrol Officer Kevin Jennings and K9 Draco responded to the Community College in Woodbridge, VA to assist patrol officers with a stolen car bailout. A patrol officer observed the suspect running up an embankment and across a parking lot towards woods. Once on the scene, MPO Jennings deployed "Draco" on lead for a track. "Draco" quickly located the track and pulled across the parking lot and into the woods. Due to freshly fallen snow, Officer Jennings could at times observe the tracks left by the suspect. Officer Jennings was accompanied by a back up officer. The track went across the parking lot and into a grassy area before leading to an 8 foot fence. The suspect apparently climbed this fence as his shirt was left snagged on the top. The officers and canine went around the fence and resumed the track. The track was now in a private residence. K9 "Draco" followed the track through the yard and back into woods. The track went through woods and onto a path leading towards the Interstate highway. The canine stayed on the track for several hundred yards before the path ended and the woods became thick with underbrush. "Draco" kept tracking and went through a broken section of fence along the Interstate. The track went along the Interstate and ended at the parking lot of the northbound rest area. The canine lost the track in this area and was unable to relocate the scent. Officer Jennings and the back up officer spoke with several Department of Transportation employees in the lot, asking if they had observed the suspect running through the lot. One employee advised Jennings that the suspect was in their rest area office making a phone call. He told the employees that someone was chasing him and he needed to call for help. The office was surrounded and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. The suspect was arrested and charged with offenses to include "Grand Larceny - Auto." The back up officer said that there was intermittent snow on the ground which helped to confirm the track. The snow was not present in the thick woods. The distance of the track was approximately two miles.


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