K-9 Otto takes another bite out of crime, takes down man caught burglarizing Redding Dollar Tree

REDDING, Calif., — Authorities say a man who broke into and vandalized a Redding business was apprehended with the assistance of a police K-9 early this morning, Sunday, May 29.


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City of Redding police officers were dispatched to the Dollar Tree, located at 2385 Athens Avenue, around 12:23 a.m. after receiving reports of a burglar alarm activation and possible burglary in progress, Redding Police Sergeant Chris Mills reported after this morning’s incident and arrest.

When officers began arriving at the scene, they saw the front of the business had been vandalized and observed that the front door to the business was shattered. Officers also noted that evidence of forced entry into the business was apparent.

Redding PD’s K-9 Otto was instrumental in this morning’s apprehension after first tracking a suspected burglar to a locked bathroom and then helping to take the barricaded man into custody. Redding PD photos

Officers quickly set up a perimeter around the business and requested additional resources, including a police service dog, to the scene.

After making multiple announcements for anyone inside the business to exit and surrender to officers, K-9 Otto was deployed into the closed business and began searching the location’s interior for any suspects.

While searching the building, officers spotted several merchandise displays that appeared damaged and vandalized and noted that a fire extinguisher had been discharged inside of the business.

Justin Vess was apprehended after officers say he broke into and vandalized a Redding Dollar Tree early this morning. Redding PD photos

With K-9 Otto’s keen sniffer leading the way, officers soon located a locked bathroom in the rear of the business where a man, later identified as Justin Leroy Vess, 42, of Hayfork, was found to be hiding.

When Vess refused to exit, officers deployed pepper spray into the bathroom before K-9 Otto was used to convince the resistant man to surrender.

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After his arrest, Vess was treated at a local hospital for injuries he sustained to his lower left leg during his apprehension, and he was later booked into the Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of burglary and resisting arrest.

Online jail records indicate he was released within hours of his arrest and is no longer in custody.

Anyone with further information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact the Redding Police Department at (530) 225-4200. Callers can refer to incident file number 22R032997 and can remain anonymous.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS). Both are stringer organizations, providing breaking news coverage and community interest stories for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.