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The SBI is investigating Randy Searls and his company, I&I K-9 International Search and Rescue. Port City Daily staff photo.
Randy Searls and K9 Jorga, when they had joined the Wilmington Police Department to assist in investigations. Searls is now under investigation by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation. File photo by Christina Haley.

A former volunteer K-9 search and rescue team with the Wilmington Police Department is being investigated by state agents.

In a letter to an agent with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) dated Aug. 26, District Attorney Ben David said he requested the SBI to investigate allegations of untruthfulness regarding the credentials of Randy Searls and his company, I&I International K9 Search and Rescue (SAR) Team.

Searls partnered with the Wilmington Police Department in July as a volunteer K-9 unit. He stopped his volunteer efforts with the police department on Aug. 19, according to Wilmington Police Department Spokeswoman Cathryn Lindsay.

“I now have reason to believe that Mr. Searls was not completely truthful regarding his credentials and qualifications to provide this assistance,” David said in his letter. “This matter is of a very serious nature and merits review by the State Bureau of Investigation.”

Searls and K-9 Jorga were given access to police department facilities on the basis that he was “certified” with the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and was “affiliated” with the SBI and FBI, David said.

“My office now believes these designations to be false,” David said.

Searls, who spoke with a Port City Daily reporter about the investigation, said he was “blindsided” about the news.

“Jorga is very good at what she does. No one has been gracious enough to tell me a thing,” Searls said. “We work for free, for any donations. We are a 501c3 charity and we work with law enforcement. We help anyone and we never charge.”

SBI Special Agent Shannon O’Toole said the investigation is “actively being worked.”

I&I International K-9 Search and Rescue is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions, according to the IRS.

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