Theft suspect barks, identifies self as dog, Florida cops say


It was by coincidence that a real dog, sheriff’s office K-9 Maverick, happened to be on the call, and he saw through the act, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office says.

Martin County Sheriff’s Office photo

A suspected car thief tried identifying as a dog when stopped by Florida deputies and even resorted to barking responses to their questions, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.

The ruse did not keep him out of jail.

It happened around 10:45 a.m. March 21 in Palm City, and investigators say the 34-year-old suspect “had little to say” when pulled over on Interstate 95.

“No, really. He just barked,” the sheriff’s office reported in a March 22 Facebook post. “When the deputy asked him for identification, (he) refused to comply and would only say that his name was ‘Dog’ at which time he followed it with more barking.”

The driver had no form of identification on him, according to an affidavit.

It was by coincidence that a real dog, sheriff’s office K-9 Maverick, also happened to be in the deputy’s car, and investigators suggest his presence may have helped settle the matter.

“He determined (the man’s) bark was not only a bit exaggerated, but the suspect was actually a car thief, and definitely not a dog,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Once the dog issue was cleared up, (he) refused to cooperate again.”

It wasn’t until the suspect was taken to the “very dog friendly” Martin County jail that a positive identification was made, officials said. The driver, who lives in Port Richey, was charged with grand theft auto and resisting arrest without violence, officials said.

Investigators say the 2011 Toyota Camry he was driving had been stolen March 20 in Pasco County, on the opposite side of the state.

Palm City is about 105 miles north of Miami.

Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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