EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

July 12, 2013

Salem police K-9 tracks 2 suspects in 2 towns

Police say Trigger made collars in Salem, Pelham

SALEM — Trigger, 2; suspects, 0.

One of the Salem Police Department’s two K-9s is credited with helping capture two suspects within two hours — one in Salem, the other in Pelham.

“Any time your K-9 goes for two-for-two in tracking in one night, it’s a good night,” Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said.

Trigger, a three-year member of the department, and partner Officer Dan Nelson first tracked a suspected copper thief late Wednesday night then headed to Pelham to help find a suspect there.

“Officer Nelson and Trigger do a great job tracking,” Patten said. “It was about a half-mile track through some rough terrain.”

The first call came at 11:37 p.m. for a report of suspicious activity at 25 Duston Road. A neighbor called police after watching a suspicious vehicle circling the neighborhood. The caller also believed there was someone walking around inside a vacant house on the property, Patten said.

Nelson, Trigger and Officer Rick Nicosia were the first to respond. The officers found an open door and Trigger reacted immediately to a fresh scent.

Nelson and his K-9 partner tracked the suspect for through a large field, scaling stone walls and a 6-foot fence, Patten said.

The search ended in a back yard on Eyssi Drive, where Trigger found Richard McPhee, 34, of Haverhill.

McPhee kicked at the dog, but he was soon taken into custody, Patten said.

He is charged with one felony count of burglary, simple assault, resisting arrest, felony criminal mischief and on a bench warrant out of Plaistow.

Police found copper piping piled in a trash barrel by the door of the vacant home and found evidence of pipes being cut out of the home. McPhee is suspected of cutting the pipe.

His alleged accomplice, Julia Auler, 44, of Salem, was circling the neighborhood, at the wheel of the suspicious vehicle the neighbor spotted, Patten said.

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