K-9 Officer Recovering from Surgery as Police Identify Burglary Suspects


WINCHESTER, Va. - A member of the Winchester Police Department took a few days off, recovering from his surgery for breaking his leg.

"He's a great member of our team, a great dog and we're all really hoping he'll come back to full duty," said Kevin Sanzenbacher, chief police.

Six-year old Kota, a K-9 officer fell through the first floor of a home while helping officers during a breaking and entering, involving two men.

On Friday, January 3, 2014, officers responded to the 900 block of Franklin Street just after 9 p.m. in reference to a security check. Officers were told two people were seen walking through a backyard and flashing lights were seen moving through a house.

The owner was not home at the moment. In fact, the owner was arrested by police for pornography charges. Police say the the two burglars personally knew the owner and also knew he was not home.

"Following procedures, they had the K-9 go in and announce several times, 'Police K-9, if you don't come out, we'll release the dogs,' The dogs tracked him to upstairs and apparently there's a crawl space they're trying to hide in and officers were not able to extract him so they released the dog," said Sanzenbacher.

The burglars have been identified as Mitchell Statler Brown, 19, and 35-year old, Robert Stanley Crosen III.

"This is a perfect example where there's space where either officers have to go in and search or the dog has to go in and search, and the dog is certainly better at it than officers were," said Sanzanbacher.

An outpour of support has been shown for Kota in helping his recovery. Police say Kota's surgery went well Monday morning and is expected to be released from the veterinarian Tuesday.











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