It took less than a double-dog dare Wednesday morning to end a six-hour standoff with a burglary suspect in the Bayview district.
Despite a massive deployment of police resources that included a SWAT team and crisis negotiators, it was the threat of a police canine that caused a man to surrender following a botched armed robbery in which hostages were taken.
The ordeal unfolded about 3:50 a.m., police said, when officers responded to a robbery call at a warehouse in the 2100 block of Jennings Street.
Four men, at least one armed with a handgun, had allegedly attempted to rob the building, which reportedly housed what police said is a permitted medical marijuana operation containing about 1,000 plants in varying stages of maturity. There also was processed marijuana, but the quantity was unknown. The value of the entire operation also is unknown.
When officers arrived, they spotted three of the suspects wearing ski masks outside the building. All were arrested within two blocks of the warehouse after fleeing, police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said. While they were brought in for questioning, the fourth suspect remained in the building along with four employees of the grow operation, Andraychak said.
It was unclear whether the suspect inside the building had a gun.
At one point, crisis negotiators established contact with the four employees. A tactical team went into the building and safely escorted them out about 8:30 a.m.
About 90 minutes later, Andraychak said, police made it known to the suspect that they were entering the building — and also mentioned that a police dog would be joining them.
“The suspect said, ‘I surrender, don’t let the dog bite me,’” Andraychak said. The canine, whose presence alone made him a hero, is a 4-year-old Malinois named Tomak.
The standoff shut down several streets and forced Muni’s 54-Felton bus line to take a detour. A homeless shelter across the street called Mother’s Brown was on lockdown until the remaining suspect was captured.
“It was kind of hectic,” said shelter worker Tim Thurman, who commended his clients for their patience and composure.
All four suspects were brought to the Bayview Police Station for questioning. As of press time, none of the men had been booked.
“Ultimately it was a peaceful resolution and no one was hurt,” Andraychak said.