BPD Uses Bloodhounds to Sniff Out Accused Church Burglar

It was money meant for the offering plate. Police say instead went to a Bryan man's pocket.

Earlier this year, 15 churches in Bryan were burglarized, 14 of them in the same manner. Wednesday, the Bryan Police Department said it connected a Bryan man to at least a third of the burglaries.

Central Church of Christ was one of the churches burglarized between February and March. When the burglar struck, he took offering money in the form of Belizean bills and Cuban pesos.

Three weeks later, 22-year-old Keith Richards was picked up on drug charges.

"He had a giant wad of Belizian/ Cuban money in his pocket," said Bryan Police Detective Shawn Davis.

Bryan police began to think Richards could be the church burglar. Detectives said its what he left at the scene, that helped them sniff him out.

"Just blunt objects, fire extinguishers, rocks, just whatever he could to bust a door or window open," said Davis.

Detectives took scent samples from those objects to visit the bloodhounds at the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department.

"We smell a hamburger. The bloodhound smells bread, sesame seed, beef, cheese and tomato. They divide all that up," said Bryan Crime Scene Investigator Curtis Klingle.

Much like a photographic lineup, the dogs perform a scent lineup. After smelling a suspect, the dogs are led down a row of scents. One of the scent samples was from evidence of a burglarized Bryan church.

Officers said on five different line-ups, three different dogs all matched Richards' scent to the crime scene.

Police said the bloodhounds are a new tool the department plans to use more often.

"The crooks are wearing gloves now, but you're not gonna ever stop the depositing of scent or DNA," said Klingle.

Thanks to a few pups, Police said some Bryan parishioners can worship again in peace.

Bryan Police are still investigating to see if Richards is connected to the other nine church burglaries, all of which were committed before Richards was arrested.

The department is also exploring the idea of getting its own bloodhounds.

Richards in accused of the March 1 break in at El Calvario Baptist Church; the March 9 burglary at First Christian Church; and the March 16 burglaries at Mount Nebo, St. Joesph's Catholic School and Central Church of Christ.

His bond is set at $98,000.

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