A rookie police dog and a more-seasoned four-legged member of the Buffalo Police Department’s K-9 Unit are basking in praise for tracking down burglary suspects in two separate incidents this week.
In the first incident Sunday, Officer John T. Kujawa responded with Destro, the newest dog, to search 342 Scajaquada St., near Bailey Avenue, where Northeast District officers had responded to a burglary in progress and discovered a forced entry at the rear of the building.
“I gave a warning twice, and the suspect did not come out. I and Destro did enter through a break in the door, and I gave my warning again. Still no response from anyone,” Kujawa said.
He then set Destro loose, and the dog located the suspect hiding in a bathroom, the officer said. “I leashed Destro and ordered the suspect out and down on the ground.”
District officers then arrested Theodore A. White, 53, of the 1300 block of East Delavan Avenue, who was allegedly trying to steal copper from the building. He was charged with burglary, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
The second arrest, of two alleged burglars, occurred Tuesday. Officer James R. Howe said Traffic Division and Northeast District officers summoned him to an unoccupied house at 164 Phyllis Ave. after police tracked the fleeing suspects there after receiving a tip of a burglary in progress at another home on Phyllis.
“I sent Stark into the basement and followed behind. Almost immediately his body language indicated that he was getting an odor and proceeded to search among all the junk,” Howe said.
Soon after, two teens were located hiding behind an old dresser and were arrested. Charged with burglary and grand larceny were Jamar L. Mills, 17, of the 300 block of LaSalle Avenue, and a 15-year-old companion.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said a lot of the credit for the department’s successful K-9 program goes to an international partnership with the Niagara Regional Police Service in Ontario.
“They have world-class dog trainers who train our dogs, and we’re very grateful to them for allowing us to participate,” Derenda said. “It is because of them we have the best police dogs in the area.”