A stolen pellet gun from a local retail outlet has been recovered by a K-9 team from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

State Conservation Officer Scott Staples of Carlton and his K-9 partner “Schody” responded to a Sept. 7 request by the Cloquet Police Department to help locate a man who had fled into the woods after allegedly stealing a black pellet gun from the local Wal-Mart. Cloquet police apprehended the suspect, but officers were unable to locate the gun.

The DNR K-9 team returned to the search area the following day and observed a woman associated with the subject standing in the woods talking on a cell phone.

“When I asked her what she was doing she didn’t say anything and just looked at me,” Staples said. “I then asked if she was just hanging out back in the wooded area. She stated she was and immediately left the area.”

Staples noted the license plate number of the vehicle the woman was driving and ran a records check. A driver’s license photo identified her as the woman he saw in the woods.

Staples and Schody then moved back into the wooded area and started to do a search where the woman had been standing. After a short search they moved to two separate areas that had not been searched the previous night.  At the first location they found nothing. They hit pay dirt at the second location when they K-9 began digging into a thick grassy area beneath some small pine trees.

“I walked over to where he was and he came out of the thick grass with a black pellet gun in his mouth,” Staples said. “Given the amount of time that had elapsed since the incident occurred, it’s just amazing that he found it in that dense vegetation.”

He gave the dog commands to “stay” and “hold.”

Staples snapped a picture of the dog with his cell phone and had the K-9 drop the gun into his hands. Cloquet police were notified and took possession of the pellet gun. The man, recently released from prison, remains in jail awaiting charges.

DNR’s three K-9 teams provide specialized resources to assist conservation officers, allied agencies and the citizens of the state with specialized capabilities in support of the DNR’s mission, through utilization during daily patrols and resource inspections, or in targeted enforcement efforts, such as detecting concealed wildlife or fish, searches for missing persons and tracking violators.

Logo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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