This past weekend, two thieves broke into an L.A. studio. They were filmed by the security camera, and it shows that they only spent six minutes inside. Still, they managed to steal over $100,000 worth of camera gear.
It’s a bummer when someone steals your phone. I’ve experienced it a couple of times and the police weren’t able to do anything. But if the thieves had posted a selfie to my Instagram account, it would have been so much easier to find them. “Why would anyone do that?” you may wonder. Well, one thief did exactly this. He stole an iPhone and he was dumb enough to post a selfie to the victim’s Instagram account.
Photographer Hugh Lloyd recently had his gear stolen at Rome Ciampino airport in Italy. And as if it weren’t bad enough, in his gear bag there were memory cards with all the photos of his friends’ wedding. The distressed couple has made a public plea to the thieves to at least return the memory cards, and they’re hoping that it will reach whoever took the camera with the cards.
In Manchester, New Hampshire, four thieves broke into at Hunt’s Photo and Video. They smashed a glass door with an ax, filled huge buckets with gear and stormed out. They were caught on the store’s security camera and the footage shows that they did it all in just 53 seconds.
When their gear gets stolen, it happens that photographers discover it listed for sale online. Some of them manage to retrieve it, even if it takes a few years. This is what happened to a photographer who goes by the name Mr. Greenshirt. When his trusted and distinct-looking Fujifilm X100T got stolen, he soon recognized it in a Kijiji listing. So, he got in touch with the police and helped to set up a sting operation and catch the thief.
A few months ago a girl came in to apply for a social media position at my last job. I was one of three photographers at the company and we had an opening for another photographer position. She mentioned to the HR recruiter that she also does photography. The HR guy comes and grabs me to tell me this and was wondering if I wanted to interview her for the open photographer position as well. So I said, “Sure, let me see her portfolio.”
To my f*$#@ing surprise my work was included her “portfolio”. I was in total shock and told the HR guy that she has stolen work on her portfolio. She had an engagement session and the couples same wedding on her website with very low-res photos. I took a few minutes to compose myself and decided to interview and ask about her work without “outing” her. I went into the interview with the HR guy and I asked her about her experience and what kind of gear she uses. She BS’d everything saying, “I have one of the “D” cameras, 7 lenses, a wide, a zoom, and super-zoom. I have it all.”
Earlier this week, Calgary-based business The Camera Store was robbed and $35,000 worth of Leica and Hasselblad gear was stolen from their store. Only 48 hours after thieves leaving the store, Calgary police caught two suspects and took them into custody. Hasselblad gear was returned to The Camera Store, but there is still no clue of rare Leica M-P 240 Safari.
A few weeks ago, my camera was stolen out of my studio locker at school. I am an architecture student in college, so I keep my a lot of my stuff at my studio. Anyway, I put my camera in my locker for about 2 days without having to use it. When I finally decided to pull it out 2 days later, I noticed that it was missing. I called the campus police and someone came over to take a police report. They asked me questions like, “when did you last see it?”, and “do you know if anybody you know would take it?” etc.
The last question that they asked was if I remembered what the serial number was. They said that places like Pawn shops have to report the serial numbers in case people sell stolen items to them. Luckily I had semi-recently bought the camera, so I called the store were I bought it from to ask if they knew. They checked their records and pulled up my cameras serial number. I told the police and they wrote it down.
There’s an interesting discussion that’s popped up on Facebook recently, started by award winning photographer Rutger Geerling, over what we may be able to do to help better protect our equipment out in the wild. We’re not talking about the bags we leave laying around filled with gear we’re not currently using, but items actually on our person that are all too easy to steal.
Without intervention and design alterations from the manufacturers themselves, it seems there’s very little we can do, but there are some great suggestions offered in the comments on the Facebook post, though.