Apparently robbers in Northern California are starting to learn that photojournalists typically shoot with pretty expensive gear. The New York Times reports that robbers have been targeting news photographers in recent months, sometimes at gunpoint:
Last August, Laura Oda, chief photographer for The Oakland Tribune, was photographing people painting the mural when she spotted someone in her peripheral vision. “Within seconds they were on me,” she said, “one in front and one in back.” Armed, they pulled cameras off her neck and grabbed her bag of cameras and a laptop from her car.
Three months later, Ms. Oda was photographing cars at a busy intersection when she was again robbed of her camera, at gunpoint once more. For a while, she avoided the streets of Oakland. She has since returned but has established a new rule: she does not stay in one place for more than five minutes.
One veteran photojournalist has already lost five cameras to robbery. Each successful theft nets the robbers between $3,000 to $50,000 in gear — gear that hasn’t been turning up on the secondary market (e.g. craigslist).
In Oakland, Photojournalists Covering Crimes Become the Victims [NYTimes]
Image credit: Oakland Tribune by James Cridland
On Saturday, the Leica store in Moscow was targeted by two masked men who used a sledgehammer to break through the door and shatter all the windows. Apparently the thieves didn’t know too much about Leica gear: they stole a $300 flash unit but left a $23,000 Leica S2 medium format camera sitting on the shelf. Leica has published a list of stolen items and their serial numbers here, and is asking customers to compare serial numbers when buying gear from unauthorized sources.
(via Leica Camera Russia Blog via Leica Rumors)
Portuguese photographer Antonio Simoes was in South Africa to shoot the World Cup when he was robbed at gunpoint in his hotel room yesterday morning.
Two men entered his room at the Nutbush Boma Lodge at about 4am, pointed a gun at his head, and stole roughly $35,000 worth of camera equipment. Two other journalists staying in the hotel were also robbed that same morning.
Simoes, who works for Portuguese sports newspaper O Jogo, tells the Associated Press:
One of the guys pointed a hand gun at my head, and then they took all my gear — cameras, lenses, laptop. Then they told me to lie on the bed and they covered me with a blanket, pressed the gun against my head and told me to sleep.
$35,000 worth of gear… Wow. Any guesses to what he was carrying that adds up to that figure? If you’re going to be photographing in South Africa this summer, be careful.
(via PDN Pulse)
Image credit: The Robbery by gcfairch