TAMPA (FOX 13) - A deaf golden retriever alerted his owner to a massive auto burglary heist in Lutz.
"He's always been my daughter's protector," offered Eric Stevens.
Stevens showed us photographs of a puppy in the arms of his young daughter. But that was nearly 12 years ago. Now, his golden retriever -- named O'Reilly -- is in his golden years. In fact, O'Reilly has been deaf for more than two years.
That's why everyone was surprised when O'Reilly sensed that something was wrong in the middle of the night.
"It's just amazing, the fact that he's completely deaf and something made him twerk," said Stevens. "He barked, thank God, and he was right there next to me on the couch."
Stevens woke up and saw burglars outside breaking into cars. They’d hit more than a dozen vehicles. But Stevens caught up with them while his wife called 911 and deputies arrived in minutes. They arrested two juveniles. Most of what they'd stolen from cars was returned.
No one knows how an aging, deaf dog sensed trouble outside, but he did. "He's the hero of the day," added Stevens.
He thought O'Reilly's days of protecting were over, but his old dog surprised everyone with a new trick that saved the day.
“He’s a good dog,” Stevens added.