An Annapolis watchdog whose bark was thought to be worse than his bite proved otherwise early yesterday morning when he took a chunk out of a man who had jumped over an auto body shop fence to hide from police.
"Barker, he's a yellow mutt" said Bill Wilson Jr., Barker's owner. "I still can't believe he bit the guy."
Barker took the first step in changing his reputation at about 5:30 a.m., when he found a man who police say allegedly robbed three motels in the Annapolis area.
The robber had climbed the fence of Annapolis Auto Body in the 100 block of Defense Highway and hidden under a car parked in the yard.
Barker sniffed him out and bit him on the hands, police said.
"I guess he was just angry at being woken up in the middle of the coldest night of the year," Wilson said.
According to police, the man had been in and out of the yard several times that night before Barker caught up with him.
At about 10 p.m., police received a call about a knife-wielding robber at the HolidayInn in the 200 block of Holiday Court off Riva Road. The clerk theretold officers that the bandit took cash from the drawer and ran out of the hotel.
Police searched the area, but did not find the robber, said spokeswoman Officer Terry Robey.
At about 2 a.m., police answered another call for a robbery at the Thrift Inn in the 2500 block of Riva Road, then another at 4:30 a.m. at the Ramada Inn in the 100 block of Jennifer Road.
Robey said the bandit apparently eluded officers from the Southern District Station by hiding in the auto yard.
Officer V. Richard Molloy said after the third robbery, officers spotted Thomas Jeffrey Kirsch, 30, of no fixed address, in the autoyard.
They began chasing him, and the dog grabbed him by his hand, holding him until the officers caught up with him, he said.
Kirsch was taken to Southern District, where he was charged with three counts of armed robbery, police said.
"Normally, he is friendly and likes to run after you," Wilson said of his dog. "And then he wants you to chase him. He thinks you're playing."
But, Wilson concedes, you never know what a crabby dog will do in the middle of the night.
"If anyone wonders if their car is safe here, I guess they know now," Wilson said. "Barker really proved his worth."
Reporter DennisO'Brien contributed to this story.