Rescued Dog, Ex-Marine Foil SoCal Car Theft

A retired Marine officer chased a pair of car thieves Wednesday morning, according to San Diego police.

Retired Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman told police that his dog Lava, who he rescued in Iraq and brought back to the U.S. when he returned from his deployment, alerted him early on Wednesday that his car thieves were stealing his wife's van from outside their home in the 600 block of Gravilla Street in La Jolla.

Investigators said Kopelman jumped into his car and gave chase, calling police from his cell phone during the pursuit. A 911 dispatcher urged Kopelman to back off during the chase, but police said he refused, telling the dispatcher that he served two tours in Iraq.

Kopelman's and Lava's names may be to San Diegans. After returning from Iraq, he wrote "From Baghdad With Love: A Marine, the War and a Dog Named Lava."

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