Sheriff’s K-9 dog corrals 2 burglars, dies going after 3rd

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UPDATED — A K-9 member of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office died heroically Tuesday afternoon, having apprehended two suspected burglars, while on his way toward corralling a third suspect in north Fayette County, officials said.

Arros, a Belgian Tervuren, collapsed while going after the third suspect, said sheriff’s Maj. Bryan Woodie. He was flown by the sheriff’s helicopter to a local veterinarian but died en route, Woodie said.

It is believed that Arros died of heatstroke, but a final determination has not been made, Woodie said.

All four suspects were ultimately captured after a search of the area, which included the LaFayette Estates and Dix-Le-On subdivisions, Woodie said. Details of the incident were unavailable at press time.

Arros, a full service patrol dog, was trained in narcotics detection, tracking, criminal apprehension, building searches and evidence recovery, according to his bio on the sheriff’s office website.

Arros was partnered with sheriff’s deputy Cody Benslay, who is a certified canine instructor.

Arros had already chased down two alleged burglary suspects and was on his way to apprehend a third when he gave out, said Woodie.

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UPDATE Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010, 5:40 p.m. — From a Sheriff’s department news release:

“The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office has made arrests in connection with at least six residential burglaries that have occurred in north Fayette County between July 26, 2010 and Aug. 3, 2010.

“Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies were patrolling an area in north Fayette County due to recent burglary activity when four men in a red passenger car, which matched a recent description, were seen in the area of Lafayette Drive and Bordeaux Drive.

“The Fayette deputy observed two of the men exit the red passenger car and walk east on Lafayette Drive while the car continued westbound.

“The Fayette deputy followed the red passenger car and attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle on Bordeaux Drive.

“The red passenger car attempted to flee from the Fayette deputy when it lost control and crashed.

“The two vehicle occupants fled on foot from the deputy just a short distance from the two occupants which had already exited the vehicle. Upon seeing this, the remaining two men also fled from the Fayette County Sheriff’s deputy.

“Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies along with the assistance of Hawk One from the Fayette County Aviation Section, the Fayette County K-9 Section, and the Fayetteville Police Department have arrested

• Somoah Martin, 20, of Rex,

• Brandon S. Hightower, 17,

• Tony McKinstry, 17,

• and Rodriguez McKinstry, 20, all from College Park.

“They are currently in the Fayette County Jail where they are being held for burglary. This case is currently under investigation where other charges are expected.”

Further news on the death of the K-9 dog assisting in the chase:

“The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is sad to announce that Aaros, a 5-year-old Belgian Tervuren, and our first Full Service Law Enforcement Canine has died in the line of duty today.

“Aaros and his handler, Deputy Sheriff Cody Benslay, were actively pursuing burglary suspects in a heavily wooded area of north Fayette County.

“Arros, who was born in 2005 in Holland and imported into the United States, began his service in Fayette County in November, 2008. Aaros was a strong performer and continued his pursuit without any sign of distress until he lost consciousness.

“Because of the remote location, HAWK 1 landed and transported Aaros to Fayette Veterinarian Medical Center. Unfortunately Aaros died while in transit.

“All four suspects who were fleeing from Sheriff’s Office personnel were taken into custody and further information on those arrests will be forthcoming.

“Charges related to the death of Aaros are pending against the four suspects.”