Youtuber (former police officer) robbed of $16,000 worth of camera gear

Feb 6, 2024

Sagiv Gilburd

Sagiv Gilburd

Sagiv Gilburd

News Editor

Sagiv Gilburd is an Israel-based commercial photographer and videographer with extensive expertise in studio work, event photography, and managing large-scale photography projects.

Youtuber (former police officer) robbed of $16,000 worth of camera gear

Feb 6, 2024

Sagiv Gilburd

Sagiv Gilburd

Sagiv Gilburd

News Editor

Sagiv Gilburd is an Israel-based commercial photographer and videographer with extensive expertise in studio work, event photography, and managing large-scale photography projects.

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On a trip to Italy, Manny Ortiz (a regular here on DIYP) just had every filmmaker’s worst nightmare come true. $16,000 worth of cameras, lenses, and other video gear was stolen right under his nose. If you’re curious about how it happened, I’ll share the details below, but if you are interested, here are some tips on protecting your gear from being stolen.

A trip gone wrong

To Manny, this trip to Italy was a business trip. The intention was to collect footage in Rome and Venice for a sponsored video. For that task, Manny brought all of his favorite gear with him: a Sony FX3, Sony ZV1, and a hefty collection of lenses, including a 35m f/1.4 GM and a 20mm f/1.8, multiple GoPros, and over $2,000 worth of new PolarPro McKinnon filters, some of which weren’t even released yet.

Luckily it was only one bag that was stolen. Most of the gear was in a Think Tank carry-on, which was gone. But some other gear, like the Leica Q2 and the (embargoed at the time) Sony a6700 ($1,398), were in his personal bag. Manny explains he took both bags with him on a train ride while in Rome, but by the time the train started moving, the Think Tank was missing.

Understandably, Manny freaked out the moment he noticed. After asking people around, he discovered such theft is common in the area, but on the bright side, there are security cameras around. With this in mind, Manny went to the nearby police station, not expecting to get his gear back but at least see what happened. Sadly for him, only the police can look at the footage, so for the time, all he could do was file a report and ask them to start an investigation.

The real problem

The real problem for Manny was why he even went to Italy in the first place. Manny was there to collect footage, but with most of his gear stolen, he was in trouble. For the most part, he managed to get by, as the main camera he needed, the Leica Q2, was in his personal bag, not the stolen bag.

The end of the story

Manny had PPA insurance, so some of the damage was mitigated with a $15,000 claim when he returned to Chicago. Still, although Manny got out of this mess with minor (minor?) losses, there is a lesson to share here. There are robbers everywhere, and even if you are the vigilant type, Manny was law enforcement in his previous career, you can still get robbed.

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Sagiv Gilburd

Sagiv Gilburd

Sagiv Gilburd is an Israel-based commercial photographer and videographer with extensive expertise in studio work, event photography, and managing large-scale photography projects.

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11 responses to “Youtuber (former police officer) robbed of $16,000 worth of camera gear”

  1. Ясин Бен Avatar
    Ясин Бен

    being former police office has no relation at all

    1. DIYPhotography Avatar
      DIYPhotography

      I think it’s relevant. If a former police officer had this happening to him, it could very well happen to anyone

    2. Burt Johnson Avatar
      Burt Johnson

      Ясин Бен – It is relevant because a “former police officer” is likely more aware of such theft possibilities, and likely more cautious than the average person. If it still happens to him, then all of us are possible targets.

    3. Ясин Бен Avatar
      Ясин Бен

      Burt Johnson us police are not trained for that, esp when it’s in other countries.. the guy noticed the man staring at him for a long time and didn’t even think that he was being targeted, any regular person would feel sth is going on , idk for how many years he was a cop but it just didn’t feel relevant

  2. Carl-Erik Paulin Avatar
    Carl-Erik Paulin

    So don’t bring much gear,just what you need

  3. John Doe Avatar
    John Doe

    “The real problem”
    The real problem is the criminals from Africa and East that flood the EU.

  4. European Dude Avatar
    European Dude

    What was written between the lines: Gear that is unattended is gear being at risk to be stolen.

    Berlin, Paris, Tokyo, Rome, Venice, Sony stuff, PolarPro stuff, bags rucksacks, … – does not really matter. Don’t know whether Manny was on a run’n’gun one-man-show there, which makes it quite difficult to go to the toilet or eat some stuff in the restaurant while taking care of multiple luggage items at the same time.

    Also, most trains don’t have enough space to put bulky items near your seat and there sometimes are not even any overhead lockers. So suitcases, gearbags, etc. need to be put somewhere near the entrance which is a thief’s heaven. Get in immediately before the train departs, grab the luggage and jump out again with the owner then trapped inside till the next stop.

    Repeat: Never let your gear unattended. Manny can consider himself lucky not having been robbed at gunpoint. That’s fortunately quite a rare situation in Italy, even the bigger cities.

  5. Vincent Reyna Avatar
    Vincent Reyna

    My bags would have been handcuffed to me.

  6. Todd Avatar
    Todd

    I hate people…..

  7. JamesO Avatar
    JamesO

    YouTuber looses sponsored gear during sponsored trip, files successful insurance claim, then produces sponsored video.
    Maybe I’m too cynical.

  8. Dave Rowlands Avatar
    Dave Rowlands

    And being an Ex Police officer has what to do with this?