When we think of News Reporters, ‘Savior’ and ‘Hero’ are the last words that come to our mind. It’s not every day that we see a news person catching a suspect red-handed. It’s somewhat absurd to even think about such a scenario.
But this Massachusetts reporter was about to make history, as she would be catching a criminal live on camera.
Boston’s Juliana Mazza had been a journalist and reporter at 7News for quite some time now. She and her trusted cameraman, John, had covered all sorts of stories ranging from petty crime to straight-up national-level events. So by now, she was an experienced veteran in the reporting world.
Juliana had always been a high achiever and, her record was proof of that. At a very young age, she was named the Best News Anchor/Newsperson by the Louisiana Associated Press during her tenure at WDSU New Orleans. It was during her time at WDSU in which she managed to make a name for herself. She reported every national and public issue on a daily basis. From mass shootings to flooding, Juliana covered it all. Everyone could foresee a bright future for the young lady, but she had other plans for her life.
Juliana kept her private life secured. She never really talked about it with anyone. She wasn’t antisocial by any means. She was just so caught up in her work that she didn’t have the time for all the gossip and private talks. All the free time she had, she spent it with her pup named Elle. Little did she know that her private world was about to be upended.
After a successful career at WDSU, she decided to switch and move to 7News. That was a shocking move for her peers as she had a great run at WDSU. For Juliana, it was a step further into her professional life. But little did she know that it was here that she would report the best news of her life.
One fateful day, as Juliana was going through her daily tasks, she and her crew were tasked with a dognapping story. None of her crew members, except Juliana, really cared about the story. They just wanted to get the job done as soon as possible. But they didn’t know Juliana.
Juliana believed that Elle was the best thing that ever happened to her. Playing around and walking with her gave Juliana a break from her hectic routine and the challenging career. She was like a happy parent to a cute puppy. That would explain her doggedness in getting to the bottom of the story.
Juliana felt a great deal of empathy when she heard the story, a kind of empathy that was very personal to her. The story impacted her in a way like no other. She couldn’t even imagine what she would feel like if she ever lost her pup, Elle. So she decided to give the story her full attention and possibly help the owners find their stolen dog.
Greg Siesczkiewicz and his family were very close to their dog Titus. Titus was a 13-month old handsome German Short-Haired Pointer. Ever since Titus was a pup, Greg always had him by his side. He even took Titus to work with him. Greg, like Juliana, had a special connection with his dog Titus. Ever since Titus came into his life, they hadn’t been apart even for a single day. Greg could never even imagine spending a single day without his best friend.
On May 7th, after their routine walk, Greg decided to take Titus to Cambridge to grab some things from work. Greg parked his car on 620 Memorial Drive and got out to get his stuff. In his haste, he failed to realize he’d made a careless mistake.
He had leashed Titus inside the car but forgot to lock the vehicle. Greg knew he would be gone for only a couple of minutes. Moreover, there were security cameras everywhere, so he felt safe and didn’t bother to think much about it. But when he got back, he was shocked to see what had unfolded.
He had left Titus leashed to the window door, but now he was nowhere to be found. He checked the back of his seat, the front tires, and even under the car, but there was no clue of Titus. Then, after minutes of tireless searching, the panicked Greg started crying out Titus’s name as loud as he could. He looked everywhere around the parking lot. By now, Greg had gathered a significant crowd around him. He tried to explain what had unfolded. But then, amidst all the madness, Greg realized what had happened.
Greg tried to stay calm and paced himself slowly to think more clearly. He had been gone for only a couple of minutes, so where could he go, he thought to himself. All the other people present there started to help Greg with the search but, there was no sign of Titus. By this point, Greg had contacted the local police and had filed for a dognapping report.
Greg was going through a frenzy of emotions. Where could he have gone? Why would someone capture him? Is he safe or not? Would he ever see him again? All these thoughts crowded his mind. Then finally, Greg had an idea.
Greg knew the place had surveillance cameras all over the parking lot and, that was his only hope to find the truth. He contacted the local authorities, and with the aid of the police, he got some footage of the kidnapping. Greg could not believe what he was witnessing.
He saw Titus being walked by a complete stranger. The stranger held his leash and was seen casually strolling around with him. Unfortunately, he had a mask on, so a face scan was not possible. All they knew about the man was that he wore glasses and a blue jacket. Even with the security footage, there seemed a very slim chance of finding and retrieving Titus.
The mere thought of losing Titus haunted Greg. And now his worst nightmare had come true. Ever since Titus was a puppy, this was the longest time they had stayed apart. He was willing to search all of Boston for his best friend and prayed to God that they find him alive and well. As more hours passed by, he felt Titus moving further away from him.
The Cambridge Police decided to tweet the image of the kidnapper with Titus on Saturday. They specifically mentioned Titus’s orange collar that had his name on it. The police requested the whole neighborhood to be on the lookout for the missing dog. The tweet spread like wildfire all over Boston and, on the same day, the 7News team decided to report it.
That Saturday afternoon, Juliana Mazza, Her cameraman John and members of the 7News, arrived at the scene of the alleged dog theft to cover the story. They talked to the traumatized owners, asked around the neighborhood, and contacted the local police. Juliana wanted to play her part in retrieving the dog; she did everything by the book and more. And her efforts were about to pay off.
As Juliana was wrapping up her report, she spotted a somewhat familiar-looking man walking a German Pointer-head around the street. She immediately remembered seeing the man before: he was most likely the one she had seen in the security cameras. And the dog matched the description of Titus, the German-pointer that the local cops were seeking. Mazza knew she had to act quickly if she wanted to help the dog’s owner get his pet back.
But before she could do anything, she had to make sure that it was the same dog. So, she casually went up to the man and asked him if she could pet his dog. Juliana was aiming for the collar to check for the name tag. She gestured to John to keep the camera rolling while she tried to keep the man involved in a conversation. She wanted to record everything live.
As she was petting him, she identified the name tag. It was actually Titus! A wave of excitement rushed through her body. Now all that was left to do was to call the police and hand over the perpetuator to them. But she kept her cool, got up, and what followed next was a barrage of difficult questions which the man failed to answer. Thoughts were already churning in her head.
She started by asking the man about the dognapping in their area. Then she asked him how he came across the lost dog. Her questions left the man perplexed and confused. In response, he explained that the incident was a “misunderstanding”. He told her that “he was just barking in the car, and I walked past the car, and I thought it was supposed to be a dog I was dog walking, it wasn’t a kidnapping. It was just a simple mistake.” Then things got even more suspicious when she asked him why he didn’t call the phone number on the name tag after 24 hours, but he didn’t have a convincing answer for that either.
Believing that his story did not add up, Mazza and her team did what they thought was right. They called the Police. Within a few minutes, the police arrived on the scene and correctly identified the suspect as 29-year old Kyle Gariepy, the unidentified man from the surveillance tapes. They arrested him on the spot and charged him with larceny of more than $1,200, and breaking and entering into a vehicle to commit a felony.
Cambridge Police Department later confirmed Titus’ rescue with a “great news update” on Twitter. And he was returned to his owner Greg Siesczkiewicz, who was ecstatic about his return. The past couple of days had been nothing short of hell for Greg. A part of him even blamed himself for losing Titus, and being reunited with him was nothing short of a blessing for him. As Greg would later say: “I’m just glad that the person came back and I’m just glad that you guys were there, If anyone ever sees this who questions the value of media, social media, broadcast media, this proves it.”
While Greg hugged him, Titus also seemed visibly excited to see his owner again. Greg swore to himself and to Titus that he would never to lose him again.
Juliana Mazza was now a name that Greg would never forget because it was not just coincidence or luck that brought her close to the suspect; it was her wit and fast thinking that helped her catch him. Anyone could have missed him; most people don’t even notice such things. But not Mazza her ‘in the moment attitude’ and the decision to keep the cameras rolling threw the perpetrator off a bit. And her onslaught of questions then sealed the deal.
Mazza had proved once again why she was named the best anchor/reporter by the Louisiana Associated Press. She received a huge round of applause from the whole 7News team and her fellow peers were more than just proud of her. They believed Mazza had set the bar really high, and they as reporters must respect and try to adapt the level of dedication she has. But that was not all.
The story managed to attract a massive public attention and recognition. People expressed how glad they were that Mazza was present there. Some were just happy to see the owner reunited with his dog, all in all everyone praised Mazza for her bravery and actions.
A dog is a man’s best friend and we need to do everything in our power to protect them. Greg was lucky to have been reunited with his dog, but most people aren’t so. According to the American Kennel Club, an estimated 2 million dogs are stolen each year in the U.S. and the organization urges owners to have their pets micro chipped so we may never lose our pets ever again.