Local accelerant detection canine helps solve arson case in the US Virgin Islands

Dogs are known for their keen hearing and sense of smell, but the Virginia Beach Fire Department’s accelerant detecting canine, Sadie, answered a call for help that came all the way from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Last year federal authorities were investigating a suspicious fire that damaged a U.S. Navy recruitment center in St. Thomas, along with two other federal buildings, including a U.S. Court House and a Coast Guard Station. At the request of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal authorities investigating the case, Sadie and her handler, investigator Alana Cooper, traveled to St. Thomas in an effort to find evidence the fires had been intentionally set.

Sadie “alerted” on a number of places at the fire scenes, and a laboratory confirmed her findings that an accelerant had been used to start the fires.

Last week, a U.S. District Court Judge sentenced 26-year old Spencer Wayne Allen to 93 months in prison for convictions of arson and malicious damage in connection with the fires at the federal buildings.