Nature Photographer Robbed of Canon R5 at Gunpoint Near San Francisco

A photographer was robbed at gunpoint in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early morning just as he was setting up to take wildlife photos.

Jim Roach, 72, found himself surrounded by three armed robbers last Friday in the Oakland Hills, east of San Fransico, who put a gun to his ribs and demanded his valuables.

“They said ‘Give me your phone’ and then I couldn’t find my phone and they got angry and they looked in my car for my phone and they found my camera,” he tells KTVU.

“I do take precautions all the time I got caught a little off-guard with this one because it was real early in the morning and I wasn’t quite expecting it, but I’m usually very cautious.”

A Popular Photographer

Roach is very popular on the hyperlocal social network site Nextdoor where he regularly delights internet users with his photos of bobcats, coyotes, eagles, and other animals that are an antidote for the often gloomy posts about crime in the area.

“Until this event, I didn’t realize that my pictures were this popular,” he says. “When this happened, wow, the outpouring of love on Nextdoor was over the top.”

Roach’s Nextdoor community has created a Gofundme page in a bid to raise money to replace his stolen R5, Canon 100-500mm lens, and a 2x extender.

The robbers used Roach’s credit card at a gas station within half an hour of the hold-up and the photographer is having to deal with replacing his ID, cards, and mobile phone.

“They were young kids,” Roachs tells KTVU. “Clearly somebody’s telling them to do what they’re doing and teaching them what to do. They’re just as much victims as I am if you ask me.”

Camera Crime

Regular readers of PetaPixel will know that San Francisco is synonymous with camera crime with multiple documented attacks last year.

In Roach’s case, the bandits were not specifically looking for camera gear, instead they simply got lucky adding more stolen goods to their loot.

The problem is not just contained to the Bay Area. In April, PetaPixel reported on a scary incident in Dallas, Texas where a photographer was shot at while taking photos of the skyline.

Image credits: Feature photo courtesy of Gofundme page.