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By Paula Quam, Forum News Service, Published February 19 2013

Clancy the dog scares off Park Rapids burglars

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. – At 65 pounds with a mop of hair, 7-year-old Clancy sleeps at the end of his master’s bed every night.

“He smells really well but doesn’t see very well because he has so much hair that goes right over his eyes,” said Agnes Larson, the woman who has been the soft-coated wheaten terrier’s whole world since he was an 11-week-old puppy.

“He’s a big pushover, a baby,” said Larson, who admittedly spoils him. “He’s the kind that people would think could probably lick a burglar to death.”

Clancy proved otherwise a few weeks ago when Larson was deep asleep with her beloved dog at the foot of the bed.

“He started growling, and even though he never does that, I still didn’t think too much at first,” Larson said. “But then he stood up, started to bark and then took a big leap. It must have been 8 feet before he even reached the ground.”

What Larson didn’t realize is that a burglar was standing only about 12 feet from her bed with a crowbar.

“A cleaning lady who stole from me a couple of years ago did take about $550 out of an envelope I used to have in my dresser – money I got from a garage sale,” Larson said. “So I suppose she thought I always kept something like this in there and told this guy about it.”

Police figured out that “this guy” was 20-year-old Cody Hawk, who has been charged in the incident along with 18-year-old William Dunbar.

“They confessed to police that when the dog started barking at them, they grabbed a small butcher knife from the kitchen and were going to kill the dog first and then use their weapon on Agnes if she didn’t shut up and stay in her room,” said Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers.

Clancy apparently was just enough of a threat to make them change their minds and leave.

Larson didn’t fully wake up until the next morning when she came into her kitchen to find a wet floor.

“And poor Clancy, I blamed it on him” said Larson, not realizing it was melted snow from the burglar’s boots.

“But then I found this crowbar laying there and the deck door ajar and there were fresh footprints, so I called police.”

Authorities followed the tracks to an area near the Ace Hardware in Park Rapids, where a surveillance camera had captured the men arriving and leaving.

“They parked right under the camera, so they weren’t exactly scientists about the whole thing,” Eilers said.

“They are connected with other burglaries around Park Rapids, so we will be putting several other complaints together,” he said. “And while we are still investigating, we can also probably tie them with some other burglaries around the Glenwood and Alexandria area.”

Eilers said Hawk and Dunbar admitted to everything, and he said the cleaning lady arrested for theft two years ago is the person who provided the men with details. The two men are “in more trouble than they probably realize.”

“We know they had hit several other homes of elderly people in that area, homes where she (the cleaning lady) would go in and help them with things,” said Eilers, adding that since the men have been arrested, the burglaries around the area have stopped.

Hawk and Dunbar were charged with first-degree burglary with what Eilers calls an unprecedented bail of $250,000 set because of the dangerous element of the crime.

“Things could have turned really bad, really fast,” said Eilers. “That dog really was a hero.”

As for Larson, she has changed her locks and is now enjoying watching others appreciate and even spoil her “hero.”

“My kids never really liked Clancy because they thought he just needed too much attention, but they like him now,” she said proudly, adding that the neighbors brought over a big sack of well-deserved doggie biscuits. “I know he’s spoiled rotten, but it obviously doesn’t hurt to spoil your dog – not one bit!”