Senior Lead Officer, John Catalano, responded to a call from a resident living in one of the newer complexes along the NoHo Arts district corridor. The call was regarding the possible theft of a dog, not just any dog, but a $2,000.00 teacup Yorkie puppy named Ruby. While interviewing the dog’s owner, it became abundantly clear to Catalano that the dog really belonged to his 3-year-old daughter, whose heart was breaking in two. Having moved his family into a beautiful and secure complex, the child’s father never thought his dog could be stolen right off the family’s apartment balcony.
Although the property itself had video cameras, Officer Catalano and the building’s apartment manager, were unable to see anyone on the cameras. Gone for two days, it was not a good sign that the dog would be returned. However a break came when additional camera footage from the common areas clearly showed a group of people loitering on the property and playing with Ruby. After a brief period of time, the suspects are seen leaving the property with the dog in hand.
Even though a crime report was taken and the videos reviewed, there was still one very sad child who only knew that her puppy was missing and Officer Catalano did not want to let her down. His perseverance in checking for other possible witnesses paid off when he received a tip from an anonymous individual, who was able to identify one of the people seen in the video. Before long, Catalano began to receive additional tips that ultimately resulted in a happy ending for a 3-year-old girl and a puppy named Ruby.
Although it would have been very easy to take a crime report and leave, Officer Catalano went above and beyond the “call of duty” to help find a happy ending. It takes incidents like this to remind us all why we all become police officers - not just to protect and serve but also to actually make a difference.
Senior Lead Officer- Basic Car 15A39
Los Angeles Police Department