Call it barking mad – a television news reporter in Massachusetts, United States, who was recording a segment about a suspected dognapping, ended up, as sheer coincidence would have it, spotting the very thief walking the stolen dog right in the midst of filming.
On 14 May 2021, a crew from local media outlet 7News took to the streets to report on the suspected stealing of the 13-month-old German Shorthaired Pointer.
Named Titus, the pooch was pinched from his owner’s car the previous week.
During filming the case, the news crew noticed a man walking a dog that beared a suspiciously close resemblance to the missing pup.
It was at that moment that reporter Juliana Mazza leapt into action, swiftly approaching the man before questioning him on how he came to have the dog – and indeed stopping him long enough to read the dog’s collar.
“The first thing I did is ask if I could pet the dog because I wanted to get down to the name tag,” Ms Mazza said in her news report.
While continuing to ask the suspected thief more questions, Ms Mazza managed to inspect the puppy’s collar noting the word “Titus”, and as her cameraman captured the scene, the crook realised he had been caught red-handed.
Thief Inanely Claims Dognapping Was “Just A Simple Mistake”
Indeed, it wasn’t long thereafter that the offender admitted to taking the animal.
“We started asking the man a few questions, and he admits to taking the animal,” Ms Mazza recounted.
According to the reporter, the man claimed the dog was “just barking in the car” and confused it for a dog he was supposed to be walking.
“I walked past the car and I thought it was supposed to be a dog I was dog walking,” the thief said.
“It wasn’t kidnapping, it was just a simple mistake.”
Nevertheless, by that stage, 24 hours had passed, and the man had evidently not returned the dog to its owner, nor had he called the number on its collar.
“You didn’t think to call the number on the tag?” Ms Mazza asked him.
His response was, indeed, just as asinine.
“I did, but then I tried using one phone, the phone was broken, and, um… I just…” the man said, dismally trailing off.
Ms Mazza and her cameraman reported the man to police, who was later identified as 29-year-old Kyle Gariepy from Boston.
Mr Gariepy told police the incident was all a misunderstanding; however, the explanation was not accepted and he has since been charged with stealing the dog, facing fines of more than $1,200.
He was also charged with breaking and entering into a vehicle.
And, most importantly, Titus was able to be quickly reunited with his owner, Greg Siesczkiewicz, who said, “I’m just glad that the person came back and I’m just glad that you guys were there”.
Meanwhile, Ms Mazza couldn’t believe the bizarre coincidence of spotting Titus.
“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would be the one to find the dog!” the reporter said.
The following is a guide written by our criminal lawyers. For more, get in touch with our team.
If you’re contemplating a life of professional dognapping, you may want to think twice seeing as stealing another person’s dog is against the law.
In fact, there are some pretty substantial penalties that come with the crime too, including the possibility of jail time.
If you are in NSW, it may come as a surprise to learn that there are, in fact, specific laws dedicated to dog theft – which reflect just how serious the matter is.
Specifically, according section 503 of the Crimes Act 1900, if you steal any dog, then on conviction by the Local Court, you can potentially face up to six months in jail, or a fine of $550, or both.
Moreover, section 504 of the same Act outlines that if you’re caught merely in possession of a stolen dog or its skin, and you know the dog to have been stolen, then on conviction by the Local Court you can be fined $550.
Furthermore, by law, a person is not permitted to steal another person’s dog and return it for a profit in cases where the owner has rewarded money for the dog’s recovery.
In this circumstance, a person who accepts money or a reward trading the stolen dog can face one year in jail.