Detroit Crooks Rob Photojournalist Twice in One Day

ScreenHunter_248 Dec. 05 11.01

Photojournalist Christopher Morris has documented some of the world’s hottest war zones, reclusive North Korea and the 2012 Republican National Convention. But it took modern Detroit to totally punk him, with thieves there stealing $15,000 in camera equipment and another crook cheating him out of $200 in reward money later that same day.

The theft happened yesterday, while Morris was on assignment for a national magazine — a rare Detroit feel-good story about the resurgence of the Jeep brand. That’s when three men smashed the window of his rental car, which was parked in a McDonald’s parking lot, and ran off with his camera, gear bag and iPhone.

Here’s an interview with the beleaguered photojournalist — best-known for his work for TIME, where he has covered everything from White House politics to war zones since 1990 — from a few years back:

Using information from witnesses and the tracking app on his iPhone, the photographer followed the thieves to a house, where a man posing as a go-between retrieved a booklet from the camera bag and told Morris he could get the rest of the gear back to him for $200. Morris gave him the money and never saw him again.

Morris did eventually contact the police, but despite taking reports and providing assurances that they are working on the case, they won’t go into the house without a warrant. As of earlier today, Morris was still gearless and out the two days of work stored on the memory cards in the camera and bag.

(via Deadline Detroit)

  • Fullstop

    Don’t forget to promise the punk more money if your gear isn’t stolen after he watches it.

  • NancyP

    Go read the LensRental blog about security options. This one is a dumb mistake, though.There should be nothing visible in the car that might be of value. Best would be a sedan’s locked trunk – no way to see in, not worth the trouble to “smash on spec”.

  • NancyP

    The city has filed for bankruptcy. There are fewer officers. OF COURSE, theft without assault is going to rank lower than crimes against persons – remaining officers can’t be everywhere and do everything at once. Common sense, please!

  • araczynski

    they’re not, but like any good biz, they should love to get some free good will PR, can’t buy that :)

  • Andrew

    I agree with others; I never ever leave my gear in my car and I will carry 30lb around a mall for two hours if I have to. I’m not leaving over $5k of stuff in one convenient sack, and it’s a good workout to boot.

  • Matthew Neumann

    Yea, losing the gear sucks for sure. But not even holding onto the CF cards containing the job you just shot is amateur hour. Insurance can’t pay back the work and the client relationship.

  • philgun

    well now hes went so public with this story I doubt the camera is in that house anymore!

  • Jeff

    I would have told that guy that if I don’t get my gear back, I’ll kill you. Screw the $200 or police. End of story. Send him back into the house with a broken nose and give him 1 minute to return the stuff.

    Someone tried to steal my Anton battery and lights while shooting for NBC in Phoenix. I ran them down and he threw the stuff at me. I ran through it, tackled him and broke some bones in his face. He left in an ambulance.

    Not everyone can pull this off, but I’m 220 pounds and get really angry when people try to steal my stuff.

  • Fullstop

    Maybe you can contact him and give him your number so you can help him retrieve the equipment in Detroit. Go to Detroit. It’s beautiful apparently.

  • Fullstop

    No according to Mark Detroit is a wonderful place. You don’t have to lock your doors and your kids can hitchhike.

  • Jeff

    I just can’t believe he followed the goods and still didn’t get it back. Christ. Go to a walmart and pick up a shotgun, show up at the house ten minutes later. Ask the dude if he wants to take the $200 and a belly full of shot, or just be real kind and go get it for you. If he doesn’t come out. Wait. They’ll eventually realize their mistake.

  • zaakir

    really? you left you gear in the passenger area of a ca in Detroit? and not the trunk at least?

  • zaakir

    oh, and i also legally carry a 9mm pistol with me at all times.

  • theothertoolbox


  • davin

    don’t leave gear unattended in a car!!! ever!!! i carry my gear with me always. i’m talking 1600 peli cases and bags when eating or anytime i’m away from a safe place…

  • TruthHurts

    In Detroit, depending on the neighborhood, the stuff isn’t safe out of the car either. They will come up to you and just take whatever it is, in briad daylight, and shoot you for the heII of it. It’s tragic, and definitely dangerous in Detroit. I know that personally as I have lived in the city, but not any longer. You even have to be careful in what street you drive down. Gangs are known to put obstacles in the road to get you to stop, throw eggs on the windshield and when you try to wash them off it gets worse and then you have to stop. It’s freakin’ crazy.

  • Genkakuzai

    After reviewing his posting history, I can conclude that pretty much _ALL_ his posts are in some way or another aimed at explaining how awful Obama, “Liberals” or “King Barry’s boys” are. And how epic white people apparently are.

  • someguy

    There is no such thing as a battery detector. If there were one… it would likely pick up on the CAR BATTERY!

  • Tina Scobee

    Well every State and County have bad areas. I live near Peoria, believe me not many safe spots around there.