Police dog takes a bite out of crime after two Welland suspects try to hide in Pelham cornfield

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Published October 28, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Police Service Dog Onyx not only tracked down two suspects in a cornfield, he also found a shotgun in the maze of maize. (Photo: Niagara Police)

In ancient Indian and Persian tales, the Onyx stone is referred to as a “protector from evil.” In Niagara, it’s probably more of a crime deterrent.

A canine named Onyx from the Niagara Police K9 Unit tracked down not just a pair of suspects fleeing into a Pelham cornfield to escape arrest but also found a firearm that had been ditched there.

In a chase that crossed more than a few townlines, police were first called yesterday (October 27) at 1 pm to the York Rd and Four Mile Creek Rd area in Niagara-on-the-Lake, regarding a stolen 2017 Ford cargo van.

At 1:30 pm, the stolen vehicle was reported to left the scene of a collision at the intersection of York Rd and Coon Rd, also in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  There were no injuries in the collision.

At 1:53 pm, the police got a driving complaint from a citizen, who said a vehicle was driving erratically on Beaverdams Rd near Merrittville Hwy in Thorold.  It was quickly confirmed as the stolen van which the driver saw go into a business parking lot on Hwy 20 near Rice Rd in Pelham.

So multiple units descended on the Pelham parking lot, including service dog Onyx. When police suspected the suspect took off into an a nearby corn field, they sent Onyx in to sniff them out. Not only did he find both, he also helped find a .22 caliber bolt-action firearm in the cornfield (see below).

William Ostermaier, 37, of Welland has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm other than a restricted or prohibited firearm without holding a licence, unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon in a motor vehicle, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition, careless storage of a firearm, possession of crime cash over $5,000, possession of a weapon and failure to comply with release order.

Kathleen Sullivan, 32, of Welland has been charged with heft of a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm other than a restricted or prohibited firearm without holding a licence, unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon in a motor vehicle, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition, careless storage of a firearm, possession of crime cash over $5,000, dangerous driving, failing to remain at the scene of an accident, possession of a weapon and failure to comply with release order.

Both were held for a pending bail hearing today (October 28) via video link to the courthouse in St. Catharines.  Both have been remanded into the custody of Ontario Correctional Services.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact the lead detectives by dialing 905-688-4111, dial option #3, extension #1009638.

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