By Katy Rogers and Seth Daniel
Kristopher Sarno only wanted a dog for Christmas, but he got scammed instead.
Basking in that disappointment, the 20-year-old Sarno never imagined the Revere Police Department and Everett dog rescuer Stacia Gorgone would knock on his door last Thursday evening, Dec. 17, with a new puppy, dressed in a Santa suit and ready to join his family for Christmas.
Sarno, who has struggled with Leukemia for the past 11 years, lost his dog Breaker a couple of years ago and finally decided it was time to adopt a new friend earlier this month.
However, after recently searching the Internet for a new canine companion, he was scammed out of more than $200 via text messages and did not receive the dog he was promised. While he was disappointed that he wouldn’t have a canine companion to sit with him by the tree this Christmas, he knew he had to report the matter to the Revere police department.
Upon arriving at the station, he spoke with Officer Angela Halcovich to file a fraud report. Sarno explained to Halcovich that he had seen an ad that listed a dog in Chelsea that he wanted. He contacted the online service to get him the dog and wired the service $250, getting a tracking number to follow. He followed the tracking number to Albany, NY and then it just disappeared.
He texted the service again on Dec. 11, and they demanded another $1,200 to get the dog from Albany to Revere.
It was then that Sarno realized he had been scammed and he went to the Police Station to report it on Dec. 15.
“Angela took the report and said she would forward it to the detectives, but the situation really stuck with her,” said Revere Police Lt. Amy O’Hara. “She decided to go above and beyond to resolve the situation. These kinds of cases are not always a priority because they are hard to solve and involve several jurisdictions. You’re talking about an investigation in Revere, Albany and the guy who had an Ohio phone number. It can be done, but it’s very hard. So, given that, Angela started to call around to see if she could find a dog for this kid. Luckily, she was able to connect with the woman from Everett and they resolved the situation this way.”
After hours on the phone and to her luck, Everett dog rescuer Stacia Gorgone had recently rescued several puppies in need of “furever” homes, including ‘Nitro,’ who was a stray dog that was set to be euthanized had Halcovich and Gorgone not intervened.
Agreeing that Sarno and Nitro would make the perfect pair, Gorgone and the Revere Police Department arranged the surprise Christmas gift last Thursday.
Several police officers, along with Gorgone and Nitro showed up at the Sarno residence on Thursday to gift him the dog. Nitro immediately fit in with the family, bonding with Sarno right away.
“I’m not surprised Angela did that,” said O’Hara. “These kinds of things happen every day, but you just don’t hear about them. Most of the cases we’re called to require mediation of an issue and we’re called on to come up with creative solutions to resolve a situation.”
Sarno was thrilled to meet Nitro on Thursday, sharing that he often watches animal rescuers on YouTube and wants to register his new pet as a therapy dog so he can bring Nitro to visit patients at Mass General Hospital.
Photo by Katy Rogers
Kristopher Sarno with his new dog Nitro, who Revere Police and Everett dog rescuer Stacia Gorgone provided him with in a surprise visit on Thursday after the Leukemia patient had been scammed online earlier this month.
Kristopher Sarno, Nitro, Stacia Gorgone, and Revere Police Officer Angela Halcovich.