Want to see how camera equipment goes from being stolen from a car to being sold on the Internet? Here’s an 8-minute investigative report that exposed one particular stolen electronics fencing operation.
A few years ago, FOX 2 News investigative reporter Rob Wolchek learned of a Detroit photographer named Kelly who had her expensive Nikon DSLR gear stolen from a car parked outside a bar. Kelly then found her camera being sold on eBay, and she shelled out money to buy it back.
The serial numbers on the gear and the photos on the camera confirmed that it was the exact same camera.
When a flash from Kelly’s stolen kit also popped up on eBay, Wolchek spent $200 buying it. Again, the serial numbers matched.
With this second confirmation, Wolchek tracked down the seller named Ali and begin secretly following him around. Wolchek caught Ali on camera meeting with others at gas stations and apparently buying electronics with cash. He then turned around and sold those items online before shipping them out at his local post office.
When confronted with evidence that he was selling stolen items, Ali’s defense was that he purchased things from “people” through all kinds of channels and that he had no idea any of the items were stolen. He also stated that people would occasionally approach him at the gas station where he worked to sell various things.
While it doesn’t appear law enforcement ever became involved in this investigation, Ali was inducted into FOX 2 News‘ “Hall of Shame.”
We recently shared a strangely similar story of a photographer who also found his stolen camera for sale online. But instead of buying it back and getting a reporter involved, that photographer set up a sting operation with law enforcement and got the seller arrested.