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Los Altos K-9 cop helps apprehend subject


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

K-9 Lord and Los Altos Police Officer Julie Ognoskie assisted in the recent capture of a burglary suspect.

Palo Alto police received a helping hand – or in this case, paw – Dec. 8 from a furry member of the Los Altos Police Department.

Los Altos police K-9 Lord, a 5-year-old German shepherd, is credited with helping to track down a burglar armed with tear gas who broke into the basement of a fourplex on Emerson Street Dec. 8.

According to Los Altos Police Capt. Andy Galea, Palo Alto police called Lord and his handler, Officer Julie Ognoskie, to the scene following a 911 call at 1:33 a.m. from a resident claiming to see someone in his rear yard.

Responding officers established a perimeter around the fourplex and Lord went to work, quickly picking up the burglar’s scent. Officers soon found and arrested 49-year-old Jose Aldan Castro without incident as he attempted to exit the rear yard of the residence.

“They were confident (Castro) was still in close proximity,” Galea said. “Lord did pick up a scent and started tracking to where Castro was.”

According to Palo Alto police, Castro, on parole from a felony marijuana sale conviction in Los Angeles County, had in his possession several items not in his name, including two Social Security cards, a vehicle title certificate and a personal check made out to a third party. Officers also discovered a canister of tear gas in Castro’s backpack, which he was not allowed to possess as a felon on parole.

Palo Alto police booked Castro into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on charges of residential burglary, prowling, possessing a weapon as a felon and providing false information to a peace officer.

According to Galea, Lord’s assist to a neighboring police agency like Palo Alto is nothing new, given the need to share scarce resources.

“Obviously, he’s very valuable to us,” said Galea, who noted that Lord is also trained in narcotics detection. “He’s not only able to track down criminals, but he also helps us find lost people, including children and the elderly.”

Beyond the tracking and narcotics detection, Galea said Lord is often asked to do some of the more dangerous work at crime scenes.

“He’ll search buildings and tight areas for us,” he said. “It could be a dangerous situation for our officers in some cases. … Lord is always the star of the show wherever he shows up.”

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