A police K-9 officer helped capture a 19-year-old burglary suspect Sunday night on the city’s west side.

The incident occurred at 8:47 p.m. in the 4500 block of Elm Avenue when Patrolman James Hildebrand spotted who he believed to be a burglary suspect riding a bicycle, according to police reports.

Officer Hildebrand instructed the man on the bicycle to stop, but instead, the suspect took off on the bicycle, the report said.

Hildebrand repeated the command to stop and the suspect continued to flee on his bike towards West 48th Street, so Hildebrand sent his K-9 partner, Kero, after him, the report said.

“A gun fell out of the suspect’s pocket as he rode away,” Lt. John Koski said, noting the gun later turned out to be a realistic-looking BB gun.

K-9 Officer Kero took the suspect down on West 48th Street, police said.

“He fought with the dog,” Koski said. “He was bit on the butt and right arm.”

An ambulance was called to the scene.

Officers searched the suspect and he was not the burglary suspect, although he looked a great deal like him, Koski said.

However, the 19-year-old did have several bags of cocaine, a small scale, marijuana and a large knife on him, police said.

“He said he needed the knife and (BB) gun for protection,” Koski said. “You need a gun when you are dealing drugs.”

The suspect was transported to Ashtabula County Medical Center, where he was treated for his bite wounds. He was released later that night, Koski said.

Police charged the suspect with possession of criminal tools, obstruction of official business, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine, according to police reports.

“(The suspect) told officers he thought he could out-run the dog on his bike,” Koski said. “He could not.”

K-9 Officer Kero is 3 years old and he has been with the Ashtabula Police Department for nearly two years. He is the first of his line born in the United States — his parents were born in Germany.


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