Photographer Tracks $24K Worth of Stolen Gear to Address, SF Police do Nothing

A photographer and filmmaker who had $24,000 worth of camera equipment stolen from his car has slammed San Francisco police for doing nothing about the fencing operation his gear was taken to.

Justin Schuck watched in horror as his recently purchased camera equipment traveled across the Golden Gate Bridge, tracking the stolen goods thanks to AirTags secreted within the bags.

To make matters worse, the camera gear was not yet insured. “I literally felt the pit of my stomach drop, I knew that the equipment wasn’t insured and so to have it gone so soon after buying it just was devastating,” Schuck tells ABC7 News.

However, Schuck did have one card left to play. He watched on a smartphone app that tracks the AirTags as his valuable equipment traveled from Oakland to San Francisco.

Schuck was on a call with the police when he saw his photo gear arrive at a location the police officer knew. According to Schuck, the officer said: “Oh yeah, that’s a known major fencing operation. Everybody in the Bay Area knows that they can bring their stolen and offload them there.”

Photographer's car that was broken into.
Schuck’s car after it had been broken into and the camera gear was stolen. | Photo by Justin Schuck.

Schuck is irate that S.F. police are doing nothing about the fencing operation, which acts as a middleman between thieves and the eventual buyers of the stolen goods.

“You can’t tell me that a primary function of a functioning city with a functioning police department isn’t to allow criminals to run ‘known major fencing operations’,” Schuck says on Facebook.

“That is not a city that is taking care of its citizens. San Francisco, you need to get it together, SFPD you need to get it together. If you know that criminal enterprises are based at an address, and you choose to do nothing about it, it is your responsibility.”

Speaking to ABC7 News reporter Dan Noyes, Schuck questions why police “aren’t raiding that place on a daily basis.” Noyes tried to contact the police station but they didn’t return the reporter’s calls instead sending an email: “At this point, we cannot disclose any information on the location you referred to based on possible ongoing investigations.”

Noyes has set up a GoFundMe page entitled: “Help Rebuild a Filmmaker’s Stolen Dreams.” On it, he explains that his camera gear was stolen while “sharing lunch with one of my AA sponsees.”

Schuck adds that he has been sober since the start of 2019 and “photography and filmmaking have been a beacon during my recovery.”

PetaPixel has been reporting on camera robberies and crimes on photographers in San Fransisco for the last couple of years. It is a major problem for lensmen and women operating in the Bay Area.