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Dogged thief got what he came for

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Roger Adamson, manager of the Smith's Food & Drug Center in Murray, was checking out a customer at register six when he saw the suspect enter the store.

He — or maybe it was a she — slipped through between registers four and five.

"I gotta take care of this," thought Adamson, even though at this point no crime had, in fact, been committed.

Other than the one about no dogs allowed in the store.

By now you've probably heard about the dog that held up the Smith's store. Maybe you've seen the Smith's surveillance tape that has become a YouTube sensation since it was broadcast nationally last week on CNN and the "Today" show.

It shows a large dog entering the store located just west of the I-15 freeway on 5300 South at 9:47 in the morning.

After briefly sniffing around the ice machine at the front of the store, the dog makes its way through the registers, slows down and veers briefly toward a little girl who makes a move to pet it, and then, as if remembering the task at hand, the dog heads directly for aisle 16.

The pet food aisle.

The Canine Kid passes bag after bag of dog chow until it is finally face to face with the good stuff — flavored oversize rawhide dog bones.

The dog snags a 9-inch Pet Pride bone that retails for $3.19 — you guessed it, the biggest, most expensive bone in the bin.

With contraband in mouth, the dog makes its way back up the aisle, where it is intercepted by Adamson, who, by this point, has finally broken away from his checkout duties.

Adamson owns a couple of dogs, German shorthairs, who are also retrievers, so he knew what to do.

First he put his hand in the "stop" command. Then he said in a stern voice, "Drop it!"

"He looked like maybe he understood," says Adamson. "But you could just see, he wasn't going to drop that bone.

"I thought, well, I know better than to reach into a strange dog's mouth."

The dog "kinda picked up his pace after that" and, within seconds, was back at the entrance, where the automatic doors parted to assist with the getaway. The surveillance tape reads 9:49 at departure. The entire caper took less than two minutes.

The only place the dog was caught was on the surveillance tape.

The doggone perfect crime.

"It was a nice dog. It wasn't aggressive or threatening at all. It had a plan," says Adamson, who has become something of a celebrity himself in the wake of all the YouTube and national television publicity.

Adamson could see that the dog had tags on, although it wasn't clear if a Smith's Fresh Values card was attached.

But so far, no one has claimed ownership of the bone snatcher.

A lady did call from Washington state, says Adamson. She insists the dog, a husky/wolf mix, belongs to her. She said she lost the dog while moving from Texas to Washington at the end of the summer. She was in Albany, Ore., when the dog slipped away.

"She swears it's her dog," says Adamson. "She said it's in their nature to walk long distances like that. But we haven't heard from her since."

Could be she's trying to round up the $3.19.

"You know the economy is bad when the dogs are coming in for their groceries," says Adamson.

As for pressing charges, the store manager says there's no chance of that, even if the suspect showed up with an attorney.

"We'd probably give him a medal for the good time he gave us," says Adamson, who has worked for Smith's for 23 years. "You see a lot of crazy things in this business. But I wouldn't have believed this if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes."

Lee Benson's column runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Please send e-mail to benson@desnews.com.