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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary


Press Release
December 8, 2010
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

‘Gator’ Uses Scent on Car Battery to Capture Suspected Thief

Punta Gorda – The smell of a man’s body on a used car battery was just what was needed by Charlotte Correctional Institution’s tracking dog ‘Gator’ to locate a man suspected of stealing hundreds of dollars in merchandise from an auto parts store.

The thief had fled on foot across US 41 on Tuesday morning, December 7. Nearby Charlotte Correctional Institution was contacted by Punta Gorda police for assistance around 11:30 a.m. 

The prison canine team, consisting of Sgt. Terry Malicki, Correctional Officers Ryan Mann and Robert Reuter and their tracking dog Gator, arrived at the parts store and were shown a used car battery the suspect had left behind.

That battery was used as a "scent article" to establish a track. Gator immediately went to work and led officers to fresh footprints in an area by a small shed that appeared to be disturbed.

In less than an hour the canine team and Punta Gorda police found a man hiding in bushes around the shed. The suspect crawled out from the bushes and surrendered to police without incident.

Punta Gorda Police Chief, Butch Arenal personally thanked Charlotte CI's Canine team for their quick response and diligence while ensuring the safety of the citizens of Punta Gorda.

Officer Robert Reuter, Sergeant Terry Malicki, Officer Ryan Mann, K-9 Gator.

Officer Robert Reuter, Sergeant Terry Malicki, Officer Ryan Mann, K-9 Gator.