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Chihuahua that thwarted robbers hailed as hero, goes on national TV [Video]

July 19, 2011 | 11:45 am

Paco, the barking Chihuahua that foiled a robbery at his owner's Altadena smoke shop this month, is described by friends and neighbors as a peaceful animal who usually is very docile.

A video of the robbery and Paco's angry response has become an Internet sensation and the dog appeared Monday on "Good Morning America."


"I was shocked. Normally, he's usually really laid-back. He just sits back and takes it easy," Cecil Griffin, a neighbor, told the show.

The Ace Smoke Shop's owner said Paco was rescued several years ago and spends his days sitting in the shop and roaming around outside. He's a familar face to residents and merchants. They said they were impressed that Paco chased away the burglars -- but stressed it was out of character for him.

"He's very easygoing," said shop owner Eric Knight. "He's very friendly."

The attempted robbery took place July 7 about 7:30 p.m. at the shop on North Lake Avenue in Altadena. The video shows two hooded men, one armed with a rifle, running into the store and demanding money.

Knight quickly begins placing money in a robber’s backpack. As he does, his Chihuahua erupts into ferocious barking at the two men, who beat a hasty retreat, running out of the store with the backpack but taking less money than they could have gotten.

At one point the robber with the rifle even aims it at the diminutive but undaunted pooch, which chases the pair out of the store and down the street.

Neither the dog nor his owner was injured in the incident.

The suspects are described at male Latinos between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 10 inches. One wore a black hooded sweatshirt, white shorts, black shoes and a red bandanna and carried a black and gray backpack. The other wore a black jacket with yellow trim, dark shirt and pants and a black ski mask and was armed with a rifle.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detectives at (626) 296-2114 or (626) 798-1131. The public may also provide information anonymously by calling (800) 222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus the tip to CRIMES (274637), or at the website lacrimestoppers.org.


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-- Sam Quinones and Shelby GradClick for crime reports across L.A. County on The Times' interactive database

Photo: Surveillance video image shows chihuahua chasing hooded men from a store. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department