Bay County police dog jumps in baptismal pool while hunting accused church burglar

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The baptismal pool at one Florida church appears to be having an unusual impact on visitors, with an accused burglar and a search dog both ending up in the water, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators believe the law enforcement K9 was attempting “to beat the heat.”

However, the burglary suspect says a force held his head in the pool, resulting in him being baptized while in the church, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

It happened Friday, Aug. 4, at Emerald Beach Church of Christ near Panama City Beach, about 120 miles east of Pensacola on the Panhandle.

“Deputies discovered (the suspect) from Georgia had used a cinder block to smash the window of the church to enter inside. A female employee was inside the church at the time and fled for safety upon hearing the glass breaking,” the sheriff’s office said.

“(He) stated he could not remember what happened during various moments inside the church. He did remember however baptizing himself in the church’s baptistery pool. (He) claims ‘something’ was holding his head down under the water while in the pool.”

Deputies did not report finding anyone else in the church. It was during their search that a sheriff’s office dog jumped in the baptismal pool (without permission) and began splashing around, video shows. The dog’s human partner was clearly taken off guard, and the deputy can be heard laughing in the video.

Investigators estimate the burglary caused $8,000 in damage. The suspect surrendered while in the process of loading his truck with electronics and “the church’s money bag,” officials said.

He has been charged with burglary of an occupied structure, damage to property/criminal mischief involving a church, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, records show.

Investigators say the incident happened while the suspect “was out on bond for burglary in Georgia.”

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