NewsPolk County


Car dealership's gifted K9 tracks down car thief

Posted at 5:43 PM, Aug 08, 2018

HAINES CITY, Fla. — It’s not often a crime ends with a good story told afterward.

It’s also not common for customers to try and take off with cars in the middle of the day from dealerships. But, this story, in fact, has both nuggets.

And who doesn’t like a good story that involves an alleged bad guy going to jail and a dog saving the day?

ABC Action News spoke with Miracle Toyota Wednesday, which says a man came in the day before asking to test drive vehicles.

The sale started out pretty normal until investigators say the customer turned criminal.

“The customer asked our sales person if he could borrow the key fob,” Al Gerber with Miracle Toyota, said.

Usually the salesperson goes with the customer on test drives, but in this case, Miracle Toyota says the salesperson didn’t even have a chance to get inside the vehicle.

Miracle Toyota says Hugh Stewart locked the car doors and took off.

“In the 8 years I’ve been with the auto group we’ve only had two situations that are similar to this,” Gerber said this was the second time someone tried to get away with stealing a car in broad daylight. 

Moments later Miracle Toyota called Haines City Police, but what happened next they never saw coming.

“Tundra came out of the explorer and did what he had to do, he had the final apprehension, he had the final say,” Chief Jim Elensky, with the Haines City Police said.

Tundra is a make of Toyota, but also the name of the K-9 donated to the police department one year ago, by Miracle Toyota. 

“I can say this is one of those stories, only in Florida or only in Polk County,” Chief Elensky said.

He said it was an easy job and the young K-9 did perfectly. 

While the stolen car didn’t quite make it through the scuffle, Miracle Toyota and everyone else came away from a potentially dangerous situation, unharmed.

“Tundra did his job and locked it down,” Gerber said.

According to the Florida Department of Correction, this is not the first time Stewart has stolen a vehicle. Stewart was recently released from prison for Grand theft.