Florida burglary suspect arrested after choking police K9

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — A burglar got more than he bargained for when he busted into a Winter Haven pizza shop this weekend.

On Saturday night, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a call about someone kicking and beating on the Hungry Howie’s glass doors on Cypress Gardens Road.

When deputies arrived, the glass was broken and the intruder, identified as Joseph Pellegrini, was inside. He refused to come out, despite the deputies’ warnings that K9 Recon was there and would go in after him.

K9 Recon did, in fact, go in after him.

Deputies say Pellegrini choked Recon to no avail, because Recon did not let go.

After sending in Recon, deputies intervened,. One of them can be seen kicking the suspect.

“We don’t kick people easy. If people need kicking, we kick them hard. He should have thought about that before breaking in and assaulting our K9,” Sheriff Judd said.

“He told the detective he didn’t know what happened. He was there to get his pizza and he was dog bit. Are you kidding me?” Judd asked.

“I heard the man screaming inside,” Hungry Howies General Manager Robin Angle said.

Angle was notified that the store alarm was going off, and rushed over.

“I’m just glad that my staff wasn’t here. An hour earlier and they could have been closing up, and if he was, didn’t use his brain that much, he could have easily come during open hours,” Angle said.

Deputies also found that he tried to break into the Beijing Restaurant in the same strip mall.

Pellegrini went to the hospital to be treated for the bite wounds to his calf and then was taken to jail.

He’s being charged with 2 counts of burglary, and battery on a law enforcement canine.

Recon was not seriously injured.

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