Theft suspect evades police on bicycle, attempts to drown K9

A Port Charlotte man accused of retail theft escaped capture by police by fleeing the scene on his bicycle on Saturday. Later on, he attempted to drowned a K9 in an effort to once again evade capture.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance to locate Matthew Christopher Johnson. When police arrived at a Port Charlotte 7-11 following a retail theft, Johnson and another man were accused of the crime by the clerk, according to the CCSO press release.

A deputy stopped the pair after finding them in the 7-11 parking lot. However, Johnson, fled the scene on his bicycle.

K9 Sparta sought to capture Matthew Johnson. Photo via CCSO.
K9 Sparta sought to capture Matthew Johnson. Photo via CCSO.

In an effort to capture Johnson, the deputies searched the area, soon finding him by a nearby canal. To avoid detection, Johnson strategically hid behind a tree.

The deputy, along side with his partner, K9 Sparta, ordered Johnson to lay down on the ground. Johnson, 37, refused. When Johnson sought to grab his backpack, which was nearby on the ground, the deputy released Sparta to apprehend him.

Sparta caught Johnson on the right arm.

But, Johnson refused to cede to the black and brown police dog. He then dragged Sparta by the head into the canal, proceeding to dunk the K9 underwater, per the CCSO press release.

Sparta soon gave up. The deputy pulled the K9 back to shore while Johnson swam across the canal, fleeing the scene.

Johnson is wanted by CCSO for retail theft, resisting an officer without violence and offenses against a police dog.

Writer:Michael Mora