San Ignatio is a wonderfully quiet, peaceful, and crime-free place. Or at least it was until a couple of months ago when suddenly there was a rash of car break-ins. No one knew what to make of it, and without a police force (we have a sheriff and deputy for the county who occasionally cruise the town), catching the thief seemed unlikely until, in true San Ignatio fashion, along came help. Here is the front-page story from our newspaper, The San Ignatio Star (more exciting than most of our front-page stories):
RASH OF RECENT CAR BURGLARIES THWARTED BY HARLEY THE DOG
by John Hopper
Over the past couple of months a sudden increase in auto burglaries has taken place in town, including the police vehicle of Mayor Ed Lavarone as well as this reporter's vehicle. At press time, rumors of some 20 break-ins were being circulated around town. Undersheriff Pat Turturici confirmed that the numbers were more like seven and definitely less than a dozen.
According to San Ignatio resident Jeff Bagley, he was awakened around 1:30 a.m. one morning during the week of February 1 by the sudden growling of Harley, Bagley's dog. "He was looking out the window growling, and the hair was standing up on his back. he was really upset," said Bagley. Peering out the window, Bagley saw a sweatshirt-hooded scoundrel going from car to car in the parking lot, wiping the dew from the car windows and examining the contents with a flashlight.
With Harley keeping an ever-close eye, Bagley dialed the Sheriff's Dispatch Center to give a second-by-second account of the perpetrator's activity. Nearby deputies quickly emerged on the scene. "I saw him go around the side of one of my neighbors' car just about the time the Sheriffs were showing up," said Balgey. Bagley later learned that the vehicle had been entered and a wallet taken. Deputies contacted the suspected burglar a short distance away from the scene but did not find the wallet in his possession.
At press time, Undersheriff Turturici said that an arrest was imminent in this string of auto burglaries but was unable to comment on specifics.
Harley the dog was found by Bagley on the streets of San Ignatio about 10 yers ago. He found the owners and returned Harley, but when he found the dog wandering the streets a second time some weeks later, the owners said they no longer wished to care for Harley. Harley, a Chihuahua and Rat Terrier mix, is believed to be about 14 years old. Although Harly was very ill this past month or so, Bagley says Harley is much better now but still not 100%. Harley enjoys taking walks, chasing squirrels, and going to work with Bagley. "When I was on the Fire Department, Harley loved to ride in the engine," said Bagley.
Harley did not have a statement for the Star and was very apprehensive about having his picture taken.
The Star will be nominating Harley to the Sheriff's Office and the Mayor for a special Crime Prevention Award.
Send Harley a thank you note c/o The San Ignatio Star.