Electronics-detecting K-9 helps FBI put criminals behind bars

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Ginger, an electronics-sniffing canine, is only the second of her kind working for the FBI -- and she has her very own badge to prove it.

The FBI dog is an Electronic Storage Detection canine, or ESD. Ginger was paired with her handler, FBI forensic examiner Scott Saul, a little more than two years ago.

"She was hand-selected based on her ability to please and her ability to work," Saul said.

After hundreds of hours of training, Ginger and Saul came together to find electronic devices, which may help put criminals behind bars.

Cellphones, SD cards, hard drives, Blu-ray DVDs, iPads -- Ginger's incredible sense of smell can detect the chemicals coating them or the devices themselves.

Saul said "criminals keep up with technology."

So Ginger does, too.

The duo trains three to five times a week and Ginger is rewarded for her work with a tennis ball.

Saul pretends to hide the ball in the areas he wants Ginger to search.

"If we go into a house, we'll shut the door of the bedroom and we'll focus just on the bedroom and so I'll pretend like I'm hiding the tennis ball throughout the bedroom," Saul said.

We tested it by hiding a cellphone in one of the canine's training boxes and in just seconds, she alerted Saul.

"... She'll start dancing around and looking at me and she knows she's getting her ball," Saul said.

Ginger has helped with about 30 search warrants in the last couple years, including the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting investigation in Thousand Oaks.

"To search a house takes hours and you need those 15 people to search and it will take them an hour or two for them to search a room and she can go through in about 10 minutes," Saul said.

Saul said the lab usually steps in after agents, to look for things human eyes may miss, but is easy to find for the dog.

Ginger is available to assist other law enforcement agencies locally, statewide and across the nation.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.