COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Oct. 6, 2017 a unique new crime-fighting tool that is now available to help Ohio law enforcement agencies in criminal investigations. Reptar, a 22-month-old black Labrador Retriever, is the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s new Electronic Detection K-9.
Reptar has received specialized training to sniff out chemicals that are used in all electronic devices with storage capabilities, such as computers, cellphones, tablets, hard drives, USB storage devices, and SD cards. These devices are commonly used by child pornography suspects, who may hide storage devices inside doors, underneath furniture, and even inside false-bottom drawers or electrical outlet covers.
Reptar and his BCI Special Agent partner and handler, Josh Rammel, are assigned to the Attorney General’s BCI Crimes Against Children (CAC) Unit, but are also available to assist on other types of cases when law enforcement investigators need help uncovering hidden electronics.
“You can run, but you can no longer hide from Reptar’s highly-skilled nose, which can sniff out even the smallest devices in the biggest rooms or vehicles,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “We are committed to finding the latest crime-fighting tools in order to protect Ohio families. Reptar has already proven valuable in some criminal investigations, finding devices hidden from investigators, and we know he will continue to help us hold criminals accountable.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine created the CAC Unit in 2011. Last year, the Unit investigated 161 cases, assisting 98 law enforcement agencies in 47 counties and serving approximately 87 search warrants.
In a recent child pornography investigation, Reptar sniffed out a hidden SD card inside a drawer with a false bottom. He also uncovered a flash drive concealed behind a stereo. In another case, Reptar led investigators to a cell phone stashed inside a carved-out toilet in an Ohio prison cell.
Reptar is also a comfort animal, not only for law enforcement investigators on stressful investigations, but also for victims at search warrant scenes.
Reptar is very unique. He is believed to be one of only two law enforcement Electronic Detection K-9s in Ohio, and one of approximately 50 in the world. The cost to purchase and train Reptar was $11,000, which was covered by two grants awarded to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Law enforcement agencies can request that Reptar and his BCI handler assist on criminal investigations by calling BCI at 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446).