K-9 tracks burglary suspect to his house

SUMTER ITEM FILE PHOTOK-9 Deputy Halo sits next to his handler Cpl. Cameron Prescott with Sumter County Sheriff's Office.
K-9 Deputy Halo sits next to his handler Cpl. Cameron Prescott with Sumter County Sheriff's Office.

Sumter County Sheriff's Office made an arrest on Monday morning after one of its K-9s tracked a burglary suspect to his home.

About 2:30 a.m., deputies responded to an alarm at Stop 'N Go convenience store at 3660 Pinewood Road and discovered that the side door of the building had been damaged, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

The suspect made entry into the building and reportedly took multiple cartons of cigarettes and numerous lottery tickets of an unknown value.

The store owner also responded and reviewed surveillance footage of the break-in with deputies who were able to determine which way the burglar fled.

Once on scene, K-9 Deputy Halo was able to follow the suspect's scent to his home on Blackberry Lane, about half a mile away.

The suspect, 29-year-old James Ashton Hobbs, answered the door of the residence and gave deputies consent to search his home where numerous lottery tickets along with cartons and packages of cigarettes were found, according to the release. Deputies also seized a crowbar, gloves and a stocking cap.

While speaking with Hobbs, deputies noticed that he was wearing pajama pants identical to those seen in the store's surveillance video.

Hobbs, of 3785 Blackberry Lane, Lot 9, was arrested and is charged with second-degree burglary. He was taken to Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center.

Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis credited deputies for quickly solving the case.

"We are proud of the work that went into this case that resulted in an arrest being made within a couple of hours," he said. "Our deputies train many hours with their K-9s to prepare for situations such as this."

Dennis said Sumter residents can rest assured that the agency will use every investigative tool available to solve crimes.

"These K-9s are well trained, and the handlers should also be credited for working so many hours so that, when a situation such as this one arises, we are up to the task," he said.