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Published December 10, 2012, 05:45 PM

K-9 units helping solve recent theft cases

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Thanks to K-9 crews, Fargo police have narrowed their investigation in two weekend thefts.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Thanks to K-9 crews, Fargo police have narrowed their investigation in two weekend thefts.

You could say they are responsible for filling in valuable pieces of a puzzle.

The search and seizure of narcotics: That's what gets K-9 units so much attention. Yet the value of clever canines, like Earl, often gets overlooked in theft situations.

Sgt. George Vinson, Fargo Police: "If there's a broken window, or back door, we start from there to see what the dog is picking up as far as scent."

Despite how easy it looks on TV, Fargo police officers say a lot of times these canines can't catch suspects on their own, but offer critical clues to help solve a case.

For instance, take the armed robbery at Game-Stop Saturday night.

Vinson: "If the dogs have difficulty picking up the track right away, they are communicating to us the suspects got into a vehicle."

This little tidbit streamlines the search process. And the dogs indicated the brief trail headed west. Police say they'll now grab surveillance video from businesses to the west, in hopes of catching the criminal.

Vinson: "The dog tracked in a certain direction. That can corroborate with a witness's statement that's made later."

And the dogs did their job during Saturday's Stop-N-Go Burglary too -- pointing police in the right direction. And to the Regional Manager here -- the $10,000 dogs are a worthwhile investment.

Brian Tjaden, Stop-N-Go Regional Manager: "We are always excited when the Fargo Police Department incorporates another tool to apprehend these suspects.”

And while the bitter cold can be a challenge for these canines.

Vinson: "Some scents can actually freeze."

They're still trained to catch a scent, and reveal clues - no matter the conditions.

The Fargo Police Department owns four K-9s. One German Shepard, and three Belgian Malinois. Two of the dogs were paid for with assets seized from drug deals.

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