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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This entry was posted in WSB on by .

About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

10 thoughts on “Marked

  1. locutus of borg

    About ten or 12 years ago, a chattanooga photog got busted for having several pounds of marijuana inside his marked news vehicle. It was the top story on every newscast and the above-the-fold lead in the newspaper.

    Reply
  2. Chas

    The best one was a few years ago, the wgcl truck operator who was busted with a hooker in a live truck… on Metropolitan Blvd… at 5am… while his reporter was writing the pkg back at the station.

    Like Forrest says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    Reply
  3. shawn

    These stories are awesome. Any more juicy happenings in the trucks that anyone is willing to share?

    Reply
  4. locutus of borg

    He was in an unmarked news vehicle. But three years ago, WSB did have a photog on assignment carjacked out of a brightly marked live truck. It was only by the grace of God he wasn’t killed.

    Reply
  5. SSG D.

    Cabbie follows WAGA truck to a Buckhead bar. Calls cops and said he saw it weaving. Cops go into the bar and charges the driver with DUI. I think the case was dropped.
    Then there was the all time favorite. WAGA does a “Tag Team” investigation with a Station from California. They have a producer fly to Atlanta pretending to be an underage girl who met a guy on the internet and convinced her to somehow fly to Atlanta. California TV station has crew on the plane. WAGA has I team on this end. Cops in tow. The guy shows up to meet the undergage girl who is really a producer. The arrest is made of the part time, freelance photog who showed up in a WAGA news vehicle to pick up the girl at the airport! To WAGAs credit, they aired the story that night with video of the news car being towed away by the Feds.

    Reply

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