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Electronics-sniffing dog found thumb drive with ex-Subway pitchman's porn stash

Technically Incorrect: Jared Fogle, who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges, had his porn collection discovered by a dog whose nose can differentiate between a thumb drive and an iPad.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Sgt. Snout to the rescue. Silicon-sniffing Bear is a black Lab, like this fellow.

© Image Source/Corbis


The arrest of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle -- and his subsequent guilty plea on child pornography charges -- shocked some.

But was it just traditional policing and online detection processes that captured his behavior? It seems not.

Crucial to the case was the role of a Labrador retriever called Bear. Bear is specially trained to detect electronic devices -- especially the tiniest ones.

In an interview with NBC News, one of Bear's trainers, Todd Jordan, explained that a child pornography collection housed on a microSD storage card might contain thousands of images.

"Each photograph is considered a victim," he said.

The 2-year-old Bear -- one of only five dogs trained to sniff out electronics devices, says NBC -- can identify an SD card, a thumb drive or an iPad, through the way their individual chemical components are put together. Jordan explained that these things smell differently from a remote or an alarm clock, for example.

When Bear finds something, he sits. When Jordan asks him to point out exactly where the tiny card is, Bear points with his nose.

Bear's other trainer, Dennis Clark, told Fox News that in order to train him, they went to a laboratory and isolated the one particular odor that's given off by specific electronic devices.

That odor was then "imprinted" on Bob. The training process takes between 6-8 months. It's much harder being an electronic device-sniffing dog than, say, a narcotics-sniffing dog. Drugs have more obvious odors.

Clark explained that Bear and a trainer -- in the case of the Fogle search, Jordan went with him -- go in after the humans have done their best.

"Bear located some items that had been missed by the investigators," he said. It was his seventh search on behalf of the authorities.

Bear has now been sold to the Seattle Police Department for $9,500, NBC said.

A prosecutor in the US Attorney's office, Steve DeBrota, told NBC: "I thought I was being punked, but it does work."

He said that Bear was "a key part of the team."

The world needs more Bears.