“He jumped over a guardrail and off a retaining wall. I started to jump over the guardrail and then stopped myself,” Tappan said. “(Out of) the corner of my eye I saw my fearless partner here in full flight.”
His partner, Mattis, a 3-year-old German shepherd, landed on top of one suspect and pinned him to the ground.
“It was a long fall and I was extremely concerned,” he said. “My heart was falling with him as he was going over that wall.”
Tappan said Mattis appeared to be OK, so when the call came to corner the second suspect in some nearby woods, Mattis sprang into action.
“As soon as the suspect saw Mattis he actually surrendered,” Tappan said.
Tappan said they rushed Mattis to a veterinarian, who discovered he had a lacerated liver.
But, he said, when surgeons opened up the dog, the wound had healed itself.
“Really is a miracle. Made me feel a lot better. It was a rough couple of days for me,” he said. “This is my partner. He lives with me. He goes home with me. He plays with my kids, annoys my wife. He’s my best friend.”
Alpharetta police said the suspects, Courtney Blake and Enock Louis, had nearly 30 cellphones on them.
“A large number of those have returned stolen throughout not only the metro Atlanta region, but also cases tying into the state of Florida,” said George Gordon, an Alpharetta Department of Public Safety spokesman.
“This group here has been traveling at least between Florida and Georgia committing thefts.”
Tappan said Mattis will stay off the road for four weeks to recover, no easy feat for such an active dog.
“I’m so proud to have him as a partner," Tappan said.