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‘It’s his favorite thing:’ K-9 dressed as Santa helps arrest 3 suspects in 1 night

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says a K9 officer helped take down three suspects Thursday night, all while dressed as Santa.

Officer K9 Stark, a German Shepard mix, and his handler, Corporal Micah Akin, have been making things easier for Santa and delivering special gifts to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for six years now.

The sheriff’s office says the pair have an unbreakable bond, living together and constantly training.

“He just loves searching, it’s his favorite thing,” Akin said.

Akin and K9 Stark proved that Thursday night; the sheriff’s office says the pair located a criminal mischief suspect following a search that lasted for nearly two hours.

At 9:58 p.m., a woman reported to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office that 25-year-old Trevor Bates smashed her vehicle window and then left on foot near Southwest Hall Boulevard and Southwest Hemlock Street.

Deputies learned that Bates was wanted for a similar incident that happened in September 2018.

Deputies, along with officers from the Tigard Police Department, responded to the scene and contained the area. Akin and K9 Stark also responded to the scene and began tracking Bates.

The sheriff’s office said K-9 Stark found Bates hiding in vehicle after a nearly two-hour track, which spanned more than 4-miles.

K-9 Stark also located Bates’ clothing and personal belongings that he had dropped while attempting to evade capture.

Bates was arrested and booked into the Washington County Jail on charges of first-degree criminal mischief, two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, third-degree criminal mischief, felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful entry to motor vehicle, and probation violation.

The sheriff’s office said that Bates’ arrest marked K-9 Stark’s third capture Thursday night. Earlier in the evening, K-9 Stark located a wanted man hiding inside a house, and also located a woman wanted for a warrant in Beaverton.

“It seems like every time I dress him up, he seems to find people,” Akin said.

Deputies say K9 Stark has the most captures at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and has set a new record at 186; the previous record was 124.

Akin says K9 Stark dresses up in several costumes, including Halloween and Fourth of July outfits.

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