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Seattle police K9 saves Christmas for local family

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A local family has a lot to be grateful for this holiday season - thanks to Seattle Police Department Officer Mark Wong and his K9, Ziva.

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KING 5 news reported last week that Seattle business Charley & May on Queen Anne Avenue was broken into a robbed last week, with the thief taking $7,000 worth of merchandize, including candles, jewelry, and purses, candles. But this thief was no match for Seattle Police K9 Ziva, whose tracking ability is unmatched.

According to store owner Lauren Formicola, she was home around three a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18 when the in-store alarm alerted her something was wrong.

"When I first drove up, I saw a guy in my shop," she said.

"And I called 911 and I'm like hurry up, he's out there filling bags with my stuff!"

While officers with the Seattle Police Department arrived only minutes later, the suspect had already escaped with the stolen merchandise. That's when they asked their K9 unit for assistance.

Officer Mark Wong and his six-year-old dog, Ziva, arrived on the scene and began to track the thief.

"It was amazing," said Formicola.

"The dog got the guy and we have all the merchandise, 99 percent of it. It turned out great, I mean that little dog saved Christmas!"

The holiday season is usually her busiest month of the year and Formicola says the police dog likely saved her small, family-owned business.

"Normally you just don't get your stuff back, and I wouldn't have had really anything of value to sell during the holidays if he had gotten away with it, if the dog hadn't found him. It's just really hard to think about," she said.

Formicola opened her shop at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19. and delightedly shared the good news with customers. And just before closing, Officer Wong and Ziva returned to the store, so Formicola could thank them.

Ziva, who is a German Shepherd, is one of only two female tracking dogs in Washington. Wong and Ziva have been a K9 team for three years.

"When we got into that alley, I could tell she knew he was back there," said Wong.

The police dog found the 52-year-old suspect hiding beneath a car. The suspected was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of felony burglary.

Charley and May proudly displays a photograph of Officer Wong and police dog Ziva on their door.

"I thought it would be a good way to give it some visibility, because the K9 unit, people need to know, this is the reason why we have the K9 unit. I'm so grateful," Formicola said.

Ziva's brother, Jaeger, is also a Seattle Police Dog.

According to Officer Wong, it's wonderful partner with his K9.

"Ziva is a wonderful dog. It's a pleasure working with her and being in the Canine Unit," he stated.

"She makes going to work very enjoyable!"

Learn more about the Seattle Police K9s here.

Merry Christmas to the Seattle PD and to their dedicated police dogs, who make our city a safer place - one collar at a time!

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