GPS, K-9 ‘Vader’ Help Track Down Two Cocoa Burglary Suspects

By  //  March 18, 2016

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Both Men Facing Multiple Felony Charges

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Two suspects were captured Friday after an early morning burglary at a construction company in Cocoa. (Space Coast Daily Image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The owners of a Cocoa business reported a burglary early Friday morning and then helped lead police to the suspects using GPS technology. A Brevard County Sheriff’s Office K-9 assisted as well.

Just after 6 a.m. Friday, Cocoa Police officers responded to the 700 block of Industry Road for a reported burglary. The owners of a construction business reported two of their pickups had been stolen.

The vehicles were equipped with GPS tracking devices and the owners assisted police with finding an approximate location in a wooded area just south of State Road 524 and east of Interstate 95.

Officers responded to the area with assistance from the Brevard County Sheriff’s helicopter and K-9 teams.

A short time later, one suspect was found and taken into custody without incident. As officers were about to call off the search for other suspects, sheriff’s K-9 “Vader,” a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, lead his handler, Deputy David Bowes, to a second suspect, identified as William Richards, who was hiding in the woods.

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The other suspect is identified as Austin Hopfer. Both men are facing felony charges of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief.

Hopfer will also face a charge of violation of probation because of a previous burglary arrest.

The investigation is ongoing.


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