PetaPixel

$9000 in Stolen Nikon Gear Recovered Using Serial Number Search

Earlier this year we saw the launch of two search engines — Stolen Camera Finder and GadgetTrak Serial Search — that help find stolen cameras by searching photos on the web for the serial numbers. The idea is neat, but no one knew whether it would actually help recover stolen gear or not. Turns out it does work.

Photographer John Heller was shooting an assignment in Hollywood when a thief stole his Nikon D3 and lenses — gear that had a combined value of $9,000. He then decided to do a reverse serial number search using GadgetTrak Serial Search, and found several recently taken photographs on Flickr that had the same serial.

With the help of the Los Angeles Police Department, he was able to track the photographs back to a Facebook profile of a man who had unwittingly purchased the stolen camera. Heller was able to recover all his stolen gear, and the LAPD is currently investigating the individual who originally sold the gear (the new owner had a receipt from the purchase).

Supposedly the LAPD is now recommending the tool to detectives and officers who deal with stolen camera cases.

(via GadgetTrak via TechCrunch)


 
  • cruddy

    Kinda makes me feel a little good. Save for neither site can find my stolen D90. Or even the D300s I am currently using and posting images on flickr with. Makes me wonder why it cannot at least find the one I do have in my possession…

  • cruddy

    Kinda makes me feel a little good. Save for neither site can find my stolen D90. Or even the D300s I am currently using and posting images on flickr with. Makes me wonder why it cannot at least find the one I do have in my possession…

  • http://facebook.com/swiftmed Andrew MacDonald

    Strange hey? Maybe there is a delay between the pictures hitting the internet and the website uploading serial numbers to the database?

  • Halfrack

    Who cares – if feeding into these sites helps lockup scumbags I’m all for it. There is also the ‘what did the previous owner shoot with this…’ that can be uncovered.

  • http://www.facebook.com/duke.shin1 Duke Shin

    I bought a used 40D from a guy in Mission District, San Francisco.
    You don’t want to know the things this camera has seen.

  • J.C. Overgaard

    So what happened to the guy who bought the stolen camera?

    And this will only work if you’re not stripping exif data out when you upload, I assume.