MINDEN - Two police dogs were credited Wednesday with leading Douglas County sheriff's deputies to a suspect in an armed bank robbery who was found hiding in a dog crate.
Steven John Simmons, 26, is in Douglas County Jail on $250,000 bail charged with robbery with a deadly weapon and other felonies in connection with a holdup Tuesday at the Minden Bank of America.
He was apprehended at 5:30 p.m., less than an hour after the bank branch reported the robbery. There were no injuries and Simmons was arrested without incident.
Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini did not disclose how much money was taken or whether it was all recovered.
Fifteen deputies, administrators and investigators responded to the search in the upscale Mackland subdivision.
Pierini credited the department's patrol dog Kilo with leading deputies to the residence where Simmons was hiding.
A second dog, belonging to a volunteer with the Nevada County Sheriff's Office, found the suspect's clothing, weapon and cash from the robbery.
Bank officials notified the sheriff's department of the armed robbery at 4:50 p.m. Witnesses said the suspect was dressed in black, wearing a ski mask and hooded shirt and carrying a loaded Glock handgun.
The suspect fled on foot behind the bank to the subdivision a few blocks away.
Officers were led to the residence through the efforts of Kilo and his handler, Sgt. Joe Duffy. Duffy said he was off-duty when the alarm came in and returned immediately with Kilo, a long-haired German shepherd.
His brother, Deputy Robert Duffy, saw the suspect walking through a field behind the bank. The suspect took off, and by that time, Joe Duffy had arrived with Kilo.
"We went running off, searching yard to yard," Duffy said. "It was dark, and there was a huge open field with barbed-wire fences. I had to hoist the dog over the fence, and we could see clear tracks to an open garage door in someone's back yard."
Duffy said just before he was ready to release Kilo, the suspect was located in a dog crate next to the garage.
The second dog, Fargo, was at Glenbrook, where handlers had been training.
Al Trimarchi, a volunteer with Nevada County Sheriff's Office, provided use of the dog, trained and certified in California to track blood and weapons.
"Fargo backtracked from the bank through the field and led us to the evidence," Duffy said.
In addition to the robbery charge, Simmons is being held for ex-felon in possession of a firearm and altering the serial number of a firearm.
On his booking sheet, Simmons listed his place of employment as the snowboard park at Mammoth Mountain.