Daily Archives: June 4, 2008

Marked

It’s hard to imagine what was going through the mind of the man who carjacked a WSB news vehicle in Midtown Memorial Day weekend. The man brandished a gun as the WSB photog was en route to the start of a work shift. The photog yielded control. The gunman took off with the vehicle and the photog’s gear.

As he drove, perhaps the gunman had second thoughts. If it was brightly painted with the “channel two action news” logo and other insignia, the SUV would have been easier to spot than most stolen cars. Early on a Sunday, there was less traffic than usual. The addled gunman probably figured out that his time behind the wheel was very limited.

News crews often bemoan the gaudy vehicles in which they ride. Pulling into sensitive situations, like a fresh tragedy, the trucks visually scream “here comes the media!” From a practical standpoint, such trucks are often quickly targeted by private security in places like mall parking lots. They make discreet ingress and egress almost impossible. TV investigative units roll in unmarked trucks. The rest of the staff often needs, but can’t get, the same kind of down-low anonymity. The marked trucks persist because station management misguidedly sees them as promotional tools, overlooking the fact that they hinder newsgathering efforts far more often than they help.

You might think that a marked truck might even deter a carjacker.

The man who carjacked the WSB truck ditched it pretty quickly. A couple of personal items were missing. But a day later, the photog’s gear was found intact, along with the truck itself. The photog, we understand, was unharmed and no doubt anxious to get back to work.

Our account of the carjacking is based on a couple of communications with people who have second-hand knowledge of the incident. We welcome corrections / elaborations.

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