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)

  • leftgrun

    who leaves their gear inside an unattended car

  • Nicholas Hrycun

    Detroit police… It is a bankrupt city.

  • David Liang

    I do. I can’t take my equipment with me everywhere at all times, it’s just not realistic. I do hide it out of plain view though.

  • Banan Tarr

    This is why I keep my used memory cards on my person if at all possible when I’m in suspicious locales. They can have my gear, more or less, but I’d prefer to at least keep my photos.

  • Fullstop

    That place is quite a dump these days. Very sad.

  • David Liang

    That’s pretty wise thing to do, I should start doing that too.

  • helloP

    What an idiot.

  • harumph

    And it happened in Grosse Pointe, which was the swank part of town when I lived in MI in the ’80s. But people get robbed everywhere, so bashing Detroit over this is a bit gratuitous at this point.

  • Fullstop

    You’re right, Detroit is a beautiful place and I’d like my teenage daughter to move there by herself.

  • BDWT

    At the very least, take your main bag with Camera and lenses. Everything else would suck to have stolen but at least you still have your foundation of gear and a means to continue working while the insurance kicks in!

  • harumph

    Huh? It’s a sh*thole. It’s always been a sh*thole. Did I say otherwise? I said bashing that sh*thole over one robbery is pointless.

  • BDWT

    Suckers, suckers do. Sorry guys, but if there’s anyone out there that thinks their gear in safe in a locked car, think again. Even if it’s out of view, thieves these days have battery detectors, they’re like metal detectors but for electronic signals, they don’t necessarily know what’s in your car out of sight but they know it has a power source and in most cases it will be a laptop under the seat or a camera and either way if people are desperate enough to smash a window, they’re desperate enough to take it, whatever it is. Same goes for the trunk. Best way to avoid this is to take your gear with you, at the very least your main camera and lenses, and if you absolutely can’t deal with carrying a bag around with you, then try take your batteries with you so there’s no electronic signal, it’s not a guaranteed way to stop theft but it’s a preventative measure, for sure!

  • funny for some reason

    anyone else actually lol at this?

  • Fullstop

    You’re right. What happened here should not paint a negative light on an already blighted area.

  • Fullstop

    That’s racist.

  • Bill

    It’s ok, let’s call it income redistribution, you know helping out the “community”

  • Banan Tarr

    Far more importantly: Don’t put your business name on your car. “BIG DON’S PHOTOGRAPHY” on the side of a truck really just says “HEY COME STEAL MY STUFF”. Sadly even if you don’t leave gear in your truck you’re likely to find some broken windows eventually.

  • jrconner

    Always put your gear in the trunk, and always put it there long before stopping for a bite. And if you’re traveling south of the border, always pay the punk who offers to watch your car.

  • faloc

    Rule No.1: Never leave your gear in the car… always take it with you! Even if you have insurance, dont want to be loosing any valuable work. If you cant take it with you, atleast leave it in the boot of the car, where no one can see it. Or atleast take your main camera with you!

  • faloc

    better tip: Dont go to Detroit unless you really have to ^^

  • Andrew Kandel

    “Come steal my stuff” is probably the nicest thing it says.

  • Kynikos

    Ah, Detroit.
    America’s Mogadishu.

  • Stormin

    two words.. drive thru

    and I mean Detroit, not fast food!

  • db

    No,, it was in Detroit. There are no McDonalds in Grosse Pointe.

  • CC

    My insurance explicitly excludes items left in a car from being covered.

  • greenarcher02

    I’d rather take the memory cards if I can’t take the camera itself.

  • terry

    Perhaps it’s time to go Mirrorless Christopher, you can keep your gear with you in a small bag. It’s a perfect time to start :)

  • markmelendez

    No surprise. Detroit is a sh*thole.

  • MEEfO

    It is realistic. I do it on every job. You’re just lazy and complacent.

  • lolmadbro

    First problem… he went to Detroit.

  • theothertoolbox

    I see what you did there. ;-)

  • Glad I live somewhere else

    Ah, Detoilet – and now it’s bankruptcy bail-out time so they can legally steal from pensions and taxpayers…

  • drwitchdoctor

    Only an amateur would leave his gear in the car.

  • theothertoolbox

    I did. I love how some people (mostly liberals, I’ve noted) can ignore the blatantly obvious dangers and pretend that things are peachy. Even after being hit in the head by reality…he will still hold on to his ideals. LEGALIZE REALITY.

  • Scott M

    I am more interested in the resurgence of the Jeep brand. Have you seen the Compass/Mini Wrangler/Patriot crap they are pumping out!?

  • Scott M

    You need better insurance.

  • Mark O’Brien

    Detroit — it’s hard NOT to slam the people there, because it has way too many thugs that would rob a car in 5 seconds. OTOH, who in the hell leaves their gear in plain sight, knowing that much of Detroit is worse than Kabul?

  • Mark

    I’m guessing most of you bashing it don’t really know Detroit, or haven’t really spent any time here. More than anything, it is largely vacant and sad but there are areas that are doing very well, with a lot of promise and that people enjoy visiting. The city actually has a lot to offer, especially as long as they don’t sell off the art museum in the bankrupty. It can be a fascinating and beautiful place to photograph as well. We are often our worst enemy as reflected in this story but so eloquently calling Detroit a sh*thole, for example, is disingenuous and shows that, at the very least, you don’t understand the city at all. I agree that he was foolish with his equipment and I would ask you what urban area you’ve been in where you felt that you could leave thousands of dollars of camera equipment in your car like that? The fact that it happened here really doesn’t indicate anything unique about Detroit, nor does the second scam or the police response.

  • TheGloriousEnd

    I make sure my entire kit can fit into one small, unassuming bag precisely because I don’t like being robbed. Then again, I’m no pro. Best not to lay judgement on someone else. It happens to the best of us.

  • araczynski

    its funny how pathetic our society has become though, man locks his stuff in his car, and it becomes his fault for it getting stolen. i wonder how long before the insurance companies will start saying the same thing. sad really.

    i know it happens everywhere, but Detroit could use any shred of good news it can, not more of the same…

    one can always hope Jeep steps up and makes up for his loss as a good will gesture, but then again Jeep isn’t a brand I’d equate with quality/class, so…

  • Todd Williams At Magnolia

    I do. I have far too much gear to carry around at any given time… much of which may be needed at a given shoot. Try to keep my primary pieces with me, but 5 studio flashes and stands arent going into McDonalds for lunch… much less the spare gear bags.

  • cougarmicrobes

    I love how you are able to turn a seemingly non related story into an opportunity to reveal your anti liberal opinions.

    Guy got robbed due to carelessness, its unfortunate. Nothing to do with politics.

  • harumph

    Grosse Pointe is in Detroit. I’m assuming it was the McD’s on Connor and Mack, so yeah you’re right, further down on Mack from Grosse Pointe. Can’t imagine what the photographer was shooting out there for a Jeep story though.

  • mthouston

    Grosse Pointe is not in Detroit….it shares a boarder with Detroit.

  • mthouston

    Well said Mark, Thank You.

  • mthouston

    Why would Jeep or Chrysler be in anyway responsible for Morris’s loss of equipment?

  • Whiners

    damn gypsys…. so you donĀ“t have to travel to spain i guess to get robbed….

  • Tina Scobee

    I wouldn’t go into a high crime area like that to start with. To freaking dangerous. Detroit is a very bad place. If i had to venture out across Michigan i would travel 100’s of miles around Detroit just so i wouldn’t put my or families life in danger.

  • Tina Scobee

    I agree. My Insurance will cover loss. But the door have to be locked. Police report filed and obvious break in.

  • Fullstop

    But I thought everyone knew not to mess with BIG DON. No?