Zuzo the police dog returns from sick leave and helps catch 2 Rehoboth burglary suspects


Seekonk police K-9 Zuzo assisted in the arrest of two suspects at a Herb Chambers Honda dealership.

A Seekonk police K-9 named Zuzo confidently returned to duty following an emergency surgery and assisted Rehoboth police Monday in the arrest of two men who were stealing tires and rims from a local car dealership, police said.

Rehoboth police responded to a call from an employee at the Herb Chambers Honda at 533 Winthrop Street at 2:29 a.m., a release from Rehoboth police said. The employee reported a suspicious U-Haul truck parked in their rear lot.

Zuzo — a 2-year-old who recently returned from an emergency surgery to treat an infection — along with his handler, Seekonk Officer Steven Fundakowski, were requested by Rehoboth police to locate suspects, the release said.

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Zuzo immediately picked up a strong scent and tried pulling Fundakowski into the woods behind the dealership, a Facebook post by Seekonk police said.

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Fundakowski called into the woods to announce the K-9’s presence, but he received no response, police said. Zuzo was sent into the woods, where he quickly found the suspect, who was taken into custody by Rehoboth police.

Zuzo picked up on another scent in the area that lead out to a main road, police said. Zuzo headed straight to a man walking down the street. The suspect was taken into custody without incident, police said.

The two suspects were Ramon Silverio, 18, and Eric Jimenez, 23, both of Providence.One of the suspects was bitten on the left leg and left arm, but police didn’t say which one.

After a complete investigation, police determined the men were in the process of stealing tires and rims from vehicles in the dealership’s lot by using tools like car jacks, gloves, lug wrenches, and screwdrivers when they were disrupted by the employee who reported the incident, Rehoboth Sergeant Brian Ramos said. The suspects ran off shortly after, he said.

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Ramos said it was the investigators’ understanding that the suspects intended to use the U-Haul truck they came in to store the stolen tires and rims.

Ramos said similar burglaries have been happening frequently in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, especially at the Herb Chambers Honda lot, which has been the victim of several thefts.

Both suspects were arraigned Tuesday in Taunton District Court and were charged with stealing motor vehicle parts, possession of burglarious tools, conspiracy, resisting arrest, and trespass with a motor vehicle.

Jimenez, who was determined to be the driver of the U-Haul truck, was separately charged with a registration plate violation, Ramos said. Jimenez was held on a $25,000 bail, the Taunton District Court clerk said.

Silverio was held on a $2,000 cash bail.

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Both suspects were sent to Bristol County Jail and House of Correction and are due back in court Aug. 1.

Katie Camero can be reached at katie.camero@globe.com

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