Updated: 03/28/2014 4:51 PM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz
A rookie Minneapolis Police K-9 is getting all the credit this week for solving a robbery in Uptown.
Two-year-old Deacon has been with Minneapolis Police for less than a year but he already as a nose that knows.
"He's extremely energetic. He's very social though, he doesn't mind people. He's very curious," said Deacon's handler, Officer Shawn Brandt.
It is that curiosity which makes Deacon a crucial tool for Minneapolis Police.
"When we smell a cheeseburger, we just smell a cheeseburger. When a dog smells a cheeseburger, he smells the cheese, he smells the beef, he smells the bun, he smells the sesame seeds," Brandt said.
Late Wednesday night, Deacon smelled much more than a cheeseburger.
Police say 42-year-old Erwin Jerome Walker walked into the Super America on West Lake Street. According to a Hennepin County criminal complaint, Walker said he had a gun and stole money from the store cash registers. The complaint also says Walker robbed another man as he left.
When Brandt and Deacon arrived, Walker was already gone. Deacon tracked the suspect's scent through the streets of Uptown. The K-9 eventually found the Walker's hat in a nearby alley.
Minutes later, Deacon found the suspect lying in the snow next to a house.
"He saw the dog staring at him, his hands went up and he realized, it was done," Brandt said.
Brandt says Deacon quickly realized that his search was successful.
"Once he found him, I think he put two and two together that, I did what I was supposed to do," Brandt said.
According to K-9 trainer and breeder Rod Bombalier who founded Minnesota K-9 Solutions, there is still a high demand for scent-detection dogs, despite enhancements in crime-fighting technology.
The Minneapolis Police Department is currently training a new group of K-9s and Brandt says this case proves how essential they are to good police work.
"They can make situations a lot safer for other officers that are out looking for people. And by using them, we can usually have a fairly good outcome on finding the people that we are looking for," Brandt said.
Walker was charged with three counts of second-degree aggravated robbery.