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Sheriff's dog sniffs out man in closed store

Kenneth J. Helms managed to hide from two Citrus County sheriff's deputies early Monday. But there was no escaping a specially trained dog, which found the man lying on the floor of a Homosassa fire equipment store. Helms, who turned 29 Tuesday, was arrested and accused of breaking into Eveready Fire and Security Equipment Inc., a report says.

The Crystal River man was charged with burglary and resisting arrest without violence.

A person who lives near the store, at U.S. 19 in the Golden Eagle Plaza, called an emergency operator about 2:30 a.m. because he heard loud noises in the area, sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney said.

The shop sells fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and other safety-related items, owner Timothy Scalzi said.

Citrus County sheriff's Deputy Jeffrey Munday and Cpl. Alma Tankersley responded and found the store's back door open. No one answered when they called into the store, so they asked for backup assistance.

Deputy John Buddenbohm arrived with one of the department's specially trained dogs. The animal quickly found Helms in the store's back room, the report says.

Helms appeared to be intoxicated when he was arrested, sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney said.

"I think maybe the guy was looking for a place to lay his head," said Scalzi, who owns the shop with his wife, Karen.

Scalzi said nothing was missing from the shop. Repairs to the door will cost about $50, he added.

Helms was being held in Citrus County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $30,000 bail.