Ocean City Police Officers were able to find and re-apprehend Tyler Custer, a wanted fugitive, using nothing but a Police dog and a shoe.
Just because it is off-season in Ocean City, doesn’t mean the police can take a vacation. A suspect’s shoe helped Ocean City Police Officers catch a wanted fugitive. But make no mistake, he is no Cinderella.
At around 1:40 a.m. on Saturday, December 30, 2017, Ocean City Police pulled over a truck for having an expired registration. An officer noticed a white pickup truck pulling into a parking lot and a preliminary records check confirmed that the vehicle’s registration was expired.
After watching the driver and passenger make a convenience store purchase and return to a hotel parking lot, the officer approached the vehicle and informed the driver that he was stopping them for driving an unregistered vehicle.
The driver (shown above) identified himself as ‘Tanner Custer’ and affirmed to the police officer that his truck was registered. After being unable to produce a driver’s license or proof of registration, the officer ran a preliminary background check. There was no record of a ‘Tanner Custer’ associated with the information that was provided.
Eventually, the Police Officer was able to get a hit for a ‘Tyler Custer’ with a matching birthdate. However, while he was running the background check, the driver decided to ditch his truck and flee the scene on foot. Custer was seen running north on Philadelphia Avenue before the officer giving chase lost sight of him. Other police officers would soon join the pursuit but weren’t able to locate the fugitive. Eventually, Ocean City Police turned to social media in the hope that someone in the community would give them a lead.
Nearly an hour after the whole ordeal had started, one police officer discovered a pair of discarded tennis shoes outside of a residence on Bayshore Drive that matched the description of the suspect’s shoes. Since most people don’t just leave their shoes on their front lawn, the officer presumed that it belonged to the suspect. The K9 unit was called in and one dog used the shoe to track Tyler Custer to his hiding spot on the third floor balcony of the residence. That’s right, a wanted fugitive was caught by an Ocean City Police dog sniffing a shoe.
Police immediately placed Tyler Custer under arrest and charged him with fleeing and eluding a traffic stop. More charges related to the incident may be forthcoming. Officers were baffled why someone would run away and risk so much just to avoid a simple fine for driving an unregistered vehicle. However, a deeper background check revealed why the man chose to run: Custer was a wanted man on outstanding warrants from Queen Anne’s County.
So, three cheers for the good detective work of the Ocean City Police Department. Though, if we’re being honest, most of the praise should probably go to the pooch who was able to find the suspect simply by smelling his shoe. Up until that point, the human officers had let a shoeless fugitive get away on foot. It took a dog to get this fugitive back into handcuffs. At this point, it is unclear whether the Ocean City Police K9 was particularly gifted or whether Tyler Custer just has incredibly smelly feet. Either way, you can chalk this up as a victory!