News

'A life-saving tool': K-9 helps track down criminal in Ann Arbor

'He's a very good boy — the goodest boy'
Posted at 11:35 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 23:35:23-05

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — An Ann Arbor police dog is being hailed a hero after helping track down a criminal on the run.

The suspect was wanted in connection to a robbery that happened in Saline on Sunday night.

A cashier says three suspects stormed into the Speedway gas station on Michigan Avenue and Harris Street and sped off together in a car.

Saline police initially began the pursuit not because they knew the suspects were robbers, but because they were going above the speed limit.

They ultimately crashed the car at an intersection in Ann Arbor. Officers were able to bring two of the three into custody.

Officer Thomas Burnette says he and his K-9 Stang were called in to track down the third suspect.

"He is a life-saving tool. Not only is he trained in tracking, but he's also trained in explosive detection," Burnette said. "So, he's looking for things that are potentially harmful."

Burnette says Sunday night, Stang picked up on the suspect's scent, which lead him to a field of brush.

"I read his body language, how he's using his nose and where he's putting his head," Burnette said.

Stang's first find was a stack of money the suspects stole from the cash register at Speedway.

His low vantage point gave him the ability to see what Burnette and the other officers couldn't.

"I don't think we would have found it without it because it was kind of hidden," Burnette said.

The body camera footage shows it wasn't too long after when Stang located the suspect.

"If you're in here, make yourself known. You're under arrest," Burnette said to the suspect during the pursuit.

The suspect was brought in peacefully and Stang never even had to use his bite.

"He's a very good boy — the goodest boy," Burnette said.

Stang is actually named after fallen Officer Clifford Stang, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1935.

His reward for a job well done was quite simple, according to Burnette.

"He gets a toy reward and we play because at the end of the day, he's still a dog," Burnette said.