SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - An auto-theft suspect driving an allegedly stolen truck led police Thursday on a chase from National City to Encanto, where officers forced the pickup to a halt and arrested him with help from a service dog.
The suspect was identified as 20-year-old Rafael Castro from San Diego.
The pursuit began in the area of Euclid Avenue and Plaza Boulevard about 4 p.m., authorities said.
San Diego and National City police chased Castro over various roads for about a half-hour before the truck ran over a tire-flattening spike strip that officers had laid in its path at 65th Street and Wunderlin Avenue, SDPD Officer Tony Martinez said.
Castro continued to the south and west for a short time, driving on two rims now covered only with tatters of rubber, then pulled to a stop on Fergus Street, near Imperial Avenue in Encanto.
Though surrounded and boxed in, Castro refused to surrender for several minutes, officers deployed pepper balls and eventually released Marko the K9. Marko leaped on Castro and dragged him down onto the pavement.
Officers then swarmed Castro and took him into custody.
Marko's handler said he's seven-years-old and is a Belgian Malinois who served with the U.S. Navy SEALS.
There was a pit bull in the truck with the suspect during the chase who was taken by Animal Control. It remains unclear who the dog belongs to.
Police said Castro was treated for dog bite wounds and is being booked in jail for evading officers, auto theft and numerous traffic violations.