Virginia Beach dog helps crack federal arson case in U.S. Virgin Islands

Sadie, the Virginia Beach Fire Department’s accelerant-sniffing canine, helped crack an arson case in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017. (Courtesy of the VBFD)

VIRGINIA BEACH — For one Virginia Beach dog, sniffing out crime is just another day on the job.

Meet Sadie, the Virginia Beach Fire Department’s accelerant-sniffing canine.

Last year, Sadie was asked to leave her post in Virginia Beach to help federal authorities crack an arson case in the U.S. Virgin Islands where three federal buildings, including a military recruitment center and U.S. courthouse, were set ablaze, according to the VBFD.

Sadie and her handler, VBFD Investigator Alana Cooper, flew down to St. Thomas and visited the fire scenes. Sadie sniffed out ignitable liquids at the scenes, which helped federal investigators determine that the fires were set on purpose,  according to the VBFD.

Evidence found by Sadie was used in the investigation, which led to the arrest of Spencer Wayne Allen. The 26-year-old Texan pleaded guilty to arson and two counts of destroying federal property last week and could face up to 60 years in prison.

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.