Niagara Gazette

Crime

June 14, 2013

K-9 credited for suspect's arrest in Tonawanda

Niagara Gazette —

The Town of Tonawanda Police Department is crediting a K-9 officer and his dog for the arrest of a bank robbery suspect as he fled his Niagara Falls Boulevard motel. 

Nicholas Harber, 35, was being sought for a slew of robberies in the Buffalo area. On the evening of June 5, Town officers, Buffalo police detectives and members of the Amherst Police Department tracked Harber to the Knight's Inn in Tonawanda. The authorities said he broke through a rear window of the inn when officers arrived, escaping on foot into a wooded area. 

While the assistance of an Erie County Sheriff's Department helicopter was delayed due to weather conditions, those on scene established a perimeter and called in a canine unit headed by Officer Brent Costello and his dog, Tank. Both began tracking Harber in an area along the I-290 about half mile from where he escaped, the police said. 

Tank ran ahead of Costello, and soon found Harber hiding in thick brush. Costello would later report that he could hear Tank being punched or kicked by the suspect, though the dog continued to engage him until the police arrived. 

According to police reports Harber, thought to be carrying a gun, was eventually wrestled to the ground after failing to comply with the officer's commands. He was charged with criminal mischief, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, as well as several charges related to robberies in Buffalo and Blasdell. 

Lt. Nick Bado indicated that police would have had a difficult time finding Harber, if its wasn't for the trusty Tank. 

"Tank tracked the suspect for over one hour and 20 minutes and was the reason we were able to locate the suspect in the brush where he was hiding," Bado said. "Heading into that type of area after a potentially armed suspect, with limited visibility due to the brush as well as the time of day, would be extremely dangerous for officers to do without the help of a K-9."

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