They call him the “Dogcatcher”

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TORONTO, Ont. – John Ratushniak has a catchy new nickname, all thanks to accidentally stopping the theft of two new trucks.

It all happened in April, when the salesman, now known as “The Dogcatcher” to Mack dealers, was paying his regular round of visits to truck dealerships in and around the Greater Toronto Area.

That’s when he accidentally stumbled across two Mack Visions that had just been reported stolen from one of the dealerships he was about to visit.

It happened like this: John Ratushniak, an account manager for Groeneveld CPL Automatic Greasing Systems, was down from his base of operations in Sudbury, Ont. doing his rounds in his old Durham region stomping grounds in early April. He was planning to visit Durham Truck & Equipment the next day, so he decided to spend the night at a Comfort Inn in Oshawa.

“It was about 7:45 p.m. when I checked in,” said Ratushniak.

“But as I was checking in I happened to notice a couple of Mack trucks sitting parked (piggybacked) over to the side of the hotel, at the back. I’ve been in the industry a while, but I didn’t recognize the colours – burgundy and red – so I went to check them out. I thought maybe I’d meet a new customer interested in buying a greasing system.

“As I was checking out the spec’s on them, I noticed a guy sitting near them on a picnic table, watching me. But he didn’t say anything, so I just checked in and stayed the night.

“The next morning the trucks were still there.”

When Ratushniak arrived at Durham Truck & Equipment the next day, he found Rob Riccuiti, sales manager, in the midst of trying to handle a major crisis.

“The people there were pretty animated,” said Ratushniak.

According to Riccuiti, he was in the midst of trying to help a customer whose brand new Macks had been reported stolen.

“They were brand spanking new Mack Vision 2006 models,” said Riccuiti. “And they were being delivered directly from the plant in New River Valley to us. They were originally supposed to arrive on Apr. 4,but the driver called in and said he was going to be a day late, so our customer (who had already been waiting for his order to be filled for some time) came back the next day to wait for them. He sat there in the office, waiting all day. But they still didn’t arrive. And when we called the carrier to find out where they were, we found out they’d been reported stolen.”

The trucks had vanished from the parking lot of the Comfort Inn in Pickering where the driver spent the night.

Ratushniak was privy to the ongoing conversations about how the dealership was going to provide the customer with some kind of temporary substitute for the trucks, when he eventually realized they were actually reacting to the theft of two new Mack Visions.

“I asked if they were red and burgundy,” said Ratushniak. “And then I described them.”

Riccuiti couldn’t believe his ears.

“When he mentioned the colours and he said he’d seen them sitting in the parking lot I said ‘You gotta be kidding. Then I called the Pickering police right away and we headed over there. Sure enough they were sitting in the parking lot when we got there.”

Needless to say the customer was ecstatic.

“I couldn’t believe it, I thought for sure they’d be gone by the time we got there,” said Ricciuti, adding he managed to convince the police to release the vehicles immediately.

“The customer got the use of one immediately and the damages to the other, (the one being used to piggyback the other, and which had been broken into) were minimal. We’ve been fixing it up here.”

As for Ratushniak, he came away from the ordeal with a new nickname – “The Dogcatcher” after the internal Mack location system used by dealers.

But he didn’t get a sale.

“The customer whose trucks I found didn’t buy a greasing system,” he said ruefully. “But I did get lots of offers for drinks and dinner. It just goes to show you what you have to do to get noticed!”

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