By Jennifer Squires
Posted: 03/03/2010 05:51:31 PM PST
Updated: 03/03/2010 05:54:26 PM PST
SANTA CRUZ – The spot-on instincts of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi pup are helping police track the suspect in the armed holdup of a Westside music store late Tuesday afternoon.
Butch Cassidy – a small, 10-month-old herding dog – and his owner, Kyla Rowe, were sitting outside Falafel of Santa Cruz on the corner of Mission and Trescony streets when the robber ran down ran out of a music shop just up the street with a reported $5,000 electric guitar around 5:40 p.m.
Known to be a little protective, Butch rushed into action.
“My dog freaked out and jumped into the sidewalk barking and growling,” Rowe, a fourth-year psychology student at UC Santa Cruz, said.
The panicked robber dropped his cell phone near Butch, then fled down Trescony with the high-end guitar.
But Rowe said Butch isn’t as threatening as the robber may have thought.
“He has a pretty scary bark but the guy must have not actually looked at him,” she said. “He’s 25 pounds. His bark is definitely worse than his bite.”
Rowe picked up the phone and walked back, with Butch, to the shop. The employees had locked up after the gunpoint robbery, but gladly opened the door to accept the recovered cell phone to turn over to police, Rowe said.
Officers are still searching for the suspect, who brandished a semi-automatic handgun at employees during the holdup, Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend said.
Detectives hope the cell phone will generate some leads in the case.
“Investigators found a couple of items of evidentiary value at the scene that we are hopeful will lead us to the suspect,” Friend said.
Meanwhile, Butch – named for a notorious Wild West train and bank robber played by one of Rowe’s favorite actors, Paul Newman – is redeeming his moniker.
“My housemates are jokingly calling him an American hero now,” Rowe said.
The robbery suspect is a Latino man, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180-195 pounds, 25-27 years old with brown hair and brown eyes. Police ask anyone with information about the holdup call the Investigations Bureau at 420-5820 or the anonymous tip line at 420-5995.