A retired Marine officer is crediting the dog he smuggled home from Iraq with alerting him Wednesday morning that two thieves were trying to burglarize his wife's car outside their La Jolla home.
Retired Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman said the 4-year-old dog, Lava, began growling and barking about 2 a.m. When Kopelman went outside to investigate, he saw two men inside his wife's Subaru.
After running inside to grab a cellphone, Kopelman followed the men in his car and called police. Officers arrested Joseph Anthony Verdugo, 29, and Leonard Eric Williams, 40, on burglary and drug charges, officials said. Williams has a felony warrant on a drug offense, officials said.
Police officials discourage crime victims from attempting to make arrests and said Kopelman acted properly by immediately calling police and letting them handle the apprehension.