APD bomb dog key to burglary arrests

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

ALBANY -- The Albany Police Department made two arrests Monday in a burglary/armed robbery that occurred at a residence on 207 Pinson Road.

APD Detective Charlie Roberts said Derek Roberson, 29, and Rodney Puckerin, 29, were both charged with armed robbery and burglary after police captured the suspects at 205 Pinson Road, next door to where the crime was committed.

Authorities said during the investigation the department's bomb dog, Bubi, was essential in finding key evidence in the case.

Bubi was able to alert officers to where the suspects had stored the weapons used during the early morning crime.

Sgt. Gregory Elder praised Bubi for the dog's performance during the investigation at a Monday afternoon news conference.

"Bubi is a great asset. He is part of our arsenal," he said.

According to police, around 5 a.m. it was reported to authorities that a burglary had occurred at a residence on Pinson Road.

Roberts said two masked men forced entry into the home by breaking down the front door where a Hispanic family lived.

"They assaulted two male Hispanics and one female," he said.

Police said one of the suspects was wielding a handgun while the other was carrying a crowbar and that items were taken from the residence.

Elder said his team of uniformed officers took over the case around 7 a.m. and were working with residents in the neighborhood to try and locate the suspects.

"This is where we picked up the track and started working with the community," the APD officer said.

"The anonymous information we gathered was essential in apprehending the suspects. The efforts of Neighborhood Watch does pay off."

Authorities said information provided by the community led investigators to 205 Pinson Road, where the homeowner agreed to let police search the residence.

Police said Roberson and Puckerin were at the residence while officers conducted a search.

Sgt. Bennie Wilson, Bubi's handler, said the bomb dog performed an "air scan" of the residence and alerted Wilson to the presence of firearms.

Investigators then discovered the crowbar and handgun that was used during the early morning home invasion.

Wilson said this case was Bubi's first major crime that the dog has solved.

The bomb dog came to the department in January with funds provided by a federal grant and both partners finished their field training in February.

Besides sniffing out 19 different sorts of chemicals associated with bombs, Bubi is said to be able to find weapons, ammunition, spent shell casings and a variety of other evidence necessary to make a case against a suspect.