Last updated at 5:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27


A number of drivers witnessed a biting arrest made by an Anchorage police dog at a stoplight in East Anchorage Monday night.


Just before 8 p.m., the Anchorage Police Department, with the help of OnStar, located a stolen vehicle at the Wal-Mart on Debarr Road. As the stolen car approached the stoplight at the intersection of Debarr Road and Boniface Parkway, officers surrounded the car and blocked it in.


Instead of surrendering to police immediately, the suspected car thief “ignored officers’ commands,” which included a K-9 warning, according to a release from APD.


The suspect took off running, an act captured on Tiffany Dahl’s cell phone.


“Most of the time, a dog barking is enough,” said APD spokesperson Renee Oistad. “A lot of times an officer’s warning is not heeded, but once that K-9 warning goes out, people stop. They don’t want to be bit; it hurts.”


Officers released the K-9 and Dahl’s video shows that seconds later the dog bit the suspect and took him down.


The K-9 unit is an “invaluable” part of the department, especially when it comes to officer safety, Oistad said.


“It’s a lot safer to send a dog in than it is for officers to have to run in and tackle,” she noted. “Because even if you’re just tackling a suspect, there’s always potential for injury.”


Police say the K-9 bite did not pierce the suspect’s skin, as he was wearing several layers of clothing. He was taken into custody shortly afterward, APD says.


While police arrested the suspect on charges of first-degree vehicle theft and resisting arrest, prosecutors declined to move forward with the charges at his arraignment later Tuesday.


“We have declined to file charges against [the suspect] today but we have requested additional reports from APD and will re-evaluate that decision once we receive that information,” Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion said in an email. “I expect [him] to be in court as soon as tomorrow on his probation case. I anticipate that his probation case will include consideration of the allegations that brought him to court today.”


The suspect was incarcerated on two unrelated warrants for second-degree burglary and second-degree escape, Oistad confirmed.


KTVA 11’s Sierra Starks can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.