Police dog helps arrest suspects in Costco theft

OLYMPIA - The Thurston County Sheriff's Office dog, Rex, bit a Tacoma man on the leg Saturday afternoon after the suspect and his companion allegedly stole a $1,400 camera from the Tumwater Costco, court papers state.

Duvall Anderson, 28, of Tacoma, was being held Monday at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of organized retail theft, attempting to elude and first-degree malicious mischief. Anderson suffered an injury to his wrist when he tried to flee the crashed vehicle and slipped on an embankment, Thurston County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cheryl Stines said.

Rex, a German shepherd dog, was used to track the suspects when they fled after their car crashed on Meridian Road. The suspects’ vehicle had collided with a patrol car at the conclusion of a high-speed police chase, according to court papers.

Anderson’s right leg was injured when Rex repeatedly “made contact” with him, Stines said. Anderson was treated and released from a hospital before he was brought to the jail, she added.

The passenger in Anderson’s car, Timothy Tanks, 28, of Tacoma, was arrested on suspicion of organized retail theft. Anderson and Tanks were being held with bail set at $10,000 each.

According to court papers:

The shoplifting incident was reported shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday, after two men entered the Costco and stole the camera by cutting its electric wire, triggering an alarm.

After the suspects fled in a black Chevy with Washington plates, Lacey police and Thurston County sheriff’s patrol cars gave chase. The suspects’ vehicle reached a speed of about 95 miles per hour during the chase. It also drove onto the wrong side of Meridian Road while trying to elude police and a “spike strip.”

The suspects’ vehicle collided with a sheriff’s patrol car when the deputy attempted a “pursuit intervention technique.” The suspects then abandoned their vehicle and ran off.

“Due to the disregard to public safety and unknown weapons status and intentions, Deputy K9 Rex was taken out to track the suspect,” court papers state.

Before Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputy Rod Ditrich released Rex, “a loud K9 announcement was given with no response.” A second warning, and then a third warning that “they were being tracked and if they didn’t give up, would be bit, again yielded no response.”

A deputy shouted to Anderson that “he better stop running or he would be bit.”

Tanks stopped running and said “I give up.”

Stines said that police reports indicate Anderson kicked Rex several times when Rex “made contact” with him. Stines said that Rex was not injured. Costco employees were brought to the scene, and they identified Tanks and Anderson. Anderson also was in possession of a pair of wire cutters. The camera has not been recovered.

“Also, without any questioning or provocation, Anderson said that he had great driving skills and if it wasn’t for not knowing the area, he wouldn’t have been caught,” court papers state.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465