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A Petaluma police dog helped track down suspected car thieves in the city on Friday, police said. At about 7:30 a.m., a resident called police to report that a Mazda SUV had been stolen overnight, according to Petaluma police. About two hours later, a California Highway Patrol officer spotted the stolen vehicle near Ely Road on the outskirts of Petaluma, police said. The officer followed the vehicle for a short distance, until two suspects got out and fled into surrounding fields, police said.
Petaluma K-9 officer “Tango” joined in a search and tracked the two suspects to a small outbuilding where they were hiding. James Lanpher, 29, and Ashley Barnes, 25, were arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle. Investigators found stolen property and other evidence inside the vehicle that led them to search a residence in the 100 block of Verde Court. Joel Grodivant, 21, was allegedly found to be in possession of property taken from various thefts that occurred in Petaluma the previous night, police said.
Grodivant was arrested for possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. All three suspects were booked into Sonoma County Jail.
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