EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 6, 2012

K-9 unit captures burglary suspect

Homeowner confronts man in back of house

(Continued)

Dunkin tracked Robillard’s scent through the woods to a home on Bean Street where he has been living with his girlfriend, according to police.

Robillard, who was taking a shower, was arrested and charged with attempted breaking and entering.

He’s no stranger to the K-9 unit, which captured him a year ago after a half-hour foot chase from the scene of a house burglary on Benefit Street. Police and angry citizens helped run him down after an observant neighbor heard the sound of breaking glass and saw a man carrying a bag out of an unattended house.

The K-9 unit, which includes another dog – Reicko, an 8-year-old male German Shepherd handled by Officer Christine Nicholosi – is one of the department’s most effective crime-fighting tools in catching fleeing burglars.

“When it comes to tracking people down, the dogs are significantly better than a human,” said Sgt. Mike Havey, who supervises the K-9 unit.

“This is a good example of when the police and the citizens work together. Good citizen cooperation allows us to be successful,” said Sgt. Havey, who estimates that both dogs are deployed about 12 to 15 times a year in tracking house burglars.

Dunkin is trained for narcotics as well as patrol. Reicko is used exclusively as a patrol dog. The dogs and their handlers received special training at the Boston Police Training facility. Police use them in tracking down shoplifters, car break suspects and capturing suspects in other more serious crimes.

The Moffett Street home owner said he was impressed with the swift action by Dunkin and Officer Torrisi.

“They called me back later and said they have him. Great job. I think they found him within 20 minutes,” the homeowner said.

Police Chief Joseph Solomon and other police officials credited the homeowner with playing a key role in assisting police.

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