Bear the black Labrador was living in a shelter when dog trainer Todd Jordan gave him a job. He trained the two-year-old pooch to sniff out electronic devices, from iPads to mini SD cards.
When police combed through former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle’s Indiana home, they missed a thumb drive that became critical in the case against him, NBC News reported. But it didn’t get past Bear’s well-trained nose — he found Fogle’s thumb drive easily.
The lovable dog is one of only five in the country that is trained to find electronic devices, some as small as a fingernail and stashed expertly away by suspects. His expert nose has helped federal law enforcement bust child porn and child abuse cases. All told, he’s worked in five investigations with the Indiana Crimes Against Children Task Force, including Jared Fogle’s.
Last week, he pleaded guilty to disturbing charges related to his long-time habit of paying minors for sex and obtaining child pornography, ABC News added. Jared Fogle‘s plea agreement — as yet unapproved — comes with only five years in prison, but the judge will have the final say on his sentence.
When police brought in the dog to help with the investigation into Jared Fogle’s case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Debrota thought it was a joke.
“But when they demonstrated it to me, I was really glad we had that asset in Indiana. And it’s worked in several investigations. That dog has found things that very diligent investigators could not find because they were so small and hidden in so many places.”
There isn’t anything supernatural about what he can do. Dogs have long been used to sniff out cocaine or pick up the scent of a suspect. This special dog has just been trained to smell something different — the chemical composition of electronic devices. Jordan trained him over the course of only four months with a simple food reward system. Once he finds a device, he points at it with his nose, and the handler can go in after it.
And Labs are perfect for the job.
“Labs are the best on this. They’ll do anything to please their owner … They’re so easy to get into a crowd of people.”
Of course, the dog can’t tell just with his nose what is stored on the device. Once Bear found Jared Fogle’s hidden thumb drive, police still had to pop it in the computer and look at the files. But the dog alerts the police to its presence in the first place, which is extremely valuable.
But now that Bear’s high profile involvement in the Jared Fogle case has gotten him some notoriety, his remarkable talent will be used by the Seattle Police Department, who bought him for whopping $9,500 to partner with their child porn detectives. The parting is bittersweet for Jordan.
“Bear will be really happy. Plus with the work he’ll do, he’ll cover the entire state of Washington and will be really busy. People will benefit from that and the children he will help will benefit from that.”
[Photo Courtesy David Raihelgauz / Shutterstock]