A Nanaimo RCMP dog’s bark helped bag a suspect and an allegedly stolen chainsaw Monday. Police hope to reunite the saw with its owner. Photo submitted

Nanaimo police dog’s bark puts a stop to chainsaw theft

Suspect decides bite might be worse than bark when confronted by RCMP service dog Monday

A Nanaimo RCMP police service dog’s bark nipped crime in the bud when a suspect’s plans to make off with stolen goods ran afoul of Cpl. Dean Muir and his dog Hawk.

According to police, the encounter happened Monday at about 6:30 a.m. on the 800 block of Park Avenue when a homeowner called 911 reporting her husband was following a man they spotted leaving a yard with a chainsaw.

The suspect dropped the chainsaw and fled, but Muir and Hawk took up the search and found the man skateboarding on Nova Street a short while later.

When Muir approached in his vehicle, he saw the suspect pull out a can of bear spray and hide it behind his leg at which point Muir commanded the man to stop or he would send the dog. Hawk backed up Muir’s warning by barking aggressively, prompting the suspect to comply.

Muir’s search of the suspect’s pockets and backpack turned up a large can of bear spray, a extendable baton, which is a restricted weapon, and a number of break-in tools including an axe.

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“Cpl. Muir is convinced as soon as the suspect heard Hawk’s distinctive bark, he decided on the spot he had no interest in meeting Hawk up close and personal,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release. “It’s probably the wisest decision he has made in a long time.”

Levi Rice, 36, of Nanaimo, has been charged with possession of break-in tools and possession of a restricted weapon. Rice remains in custody to await his next appearance in provincial court in Nanaimo Tuesday, July 2.

The chainsaw Rice was allegedly seen carrying was seized by investigators and police are trying to identify its owner. Anyone with information about the tool’s owner is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

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