Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Burglary suspects nabbed after police pursuit

     Editorial staffers have been working to complete assignments for a company wide project and with a looming deadline, I was at work an hour early to finalize some of the photos. A short time later the scanner began to squawk and I could hear the state police in pursuit of a vehicle that was occupied by two burglary suspects. I didn't hear the road they were traveling but I got phone calls saying the suspects were near the Sunnybrook Ballroom in Lower Pottsgrove Township with police searching the area.
Trooper Edgardo Lugo handcuffs alleged burglary suspect
      I closed in on the scene and followed a patrol car onto Wilson Street and then turned onto Loop Road.  There were at least seven police units at the dead end street. Out in a field I could see an SUV with a door open and several officers nearby. Standing with his vehicle was Trooper Edgardo Lugo with one of the suspects he caught after the man tried to flee on foot. That suspect was handcuffed and placed in a partrol car. The other suspect ran off into the woods. On the ground in front of the trooper's car was a bag of jewelry spilled out on the ground.
Bag of jewelry spilled onto ground.
     Officers seached the area but were unable to locate the second man. Time for plan B. The call was made for an officer with a better nose to start tracking the area.  Pottstown K-9 officer Sgt. Mick Markovich held the leash and his partner Marko jumped from his comfortable spot inside the police cruiser. The dog was all business as he walked along the sidewalk. Marko knew this wasn't a casual stroll in the park. It was time to go to work. He gave me half a glance as he passed by heading toward the field. The team held a briefing on the situation and moved toward the SUV. The K-9 quickly got on the scent and led the team into the wooded area. Officers Mike Long and Brandon Unruh followed up from behind.
Sgt. Markovich and K-9 Marko
     I saw them pushing their way through the trees and lost sight as they walked over a hill. The next thing I hear is that Marko found the man lying in thick underbrush. Police pulled him out and arrested him also. It wasn't more than fifteen minutes and the dog completed his mission. These searches don't always end with suspects apprehended. Some days the dogs can track for miles and come up empty. But, on that day after the K-9 settled back down handler Markovich rewarded him also telling him good boy.
     These dogs like the officers on the streets are trained for these situations. They don't know what's going to be on the other end of their search, whether a desperate criminal has a weapon or not. But it doesn't stop man or beast from doing their job.
 Sgt. Markovich and Marko and officer Long tracking suspect.
     Marko is going out in style with only one more week of work remaining in his career before retiring from service. One final arrest and another notch on his collar during a rewarding eight year career. Then it's sleeping in, curled up on a blanket without having to answer the call. I wonder who it's going to be harder on. The officer leaving the dog behind at home or the K-9 looking up at Markovich wanting to keep riding along as a team.
     After finishing his last shift and officially retired Marko's meal of the day should start with a juicy porterhouse steak. He earned it.

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