A few years ago, a Los Angeles professional photographer suffered every photographer’s nightmare- stolen camera gear. $9,000 of precious camera gear.
The photographer, John Heller, was on assignment at the Egyptian theater in Hollywood for Getty Images when his Nikon D3 and bag of camera lenses was stolen.
Heller reported the crime to the police. But before he swallowed the $9,000 loss, he entered his camera’s serial number into GadgetTrak’s Serial Search Service in hopes something may turn-up.
The serial search alerted Heller of several photos recently posted to Flickr. Buried within each digital photo file are vast reserves of EXIF data, which includes exposure settings, the type of camera that was used to take the photo, and most importantly in this case, the serial number of the device. Any photos uploaded to a photo-sharing site contains this data and can be searched, unless they’re hidden behind a privacy setting.
Thanks to the serial match, Heller was able to lead the police to a professional photographer who’d purchased the camera gear from the thief.
Unfortunately, it is usually the buyer of the stolen gear that ends up losing in this situation. If you purchase any second-hand items, make sure the seller can provide documentation that came with the original purchase, as well as proof of purchase (such as a receipt).
Lenstag is another popular (and reportedly free) equipment registry website that makes it easier to report and track stolen camera and lenses.
APA Insurance Services, a leading professional photographers insurance agency, protects photographers from events including stolen equipment, photographers liability claims and more. While our clients tend to be very careful and take appropriate steps to protect their equipment, things happen… and that’s what we’re here for.
Call us today at 877.269.9021 for a free indication of photography insurance—cost and coverage!
Have you or a photographer you know recovered stolen photography gear? Share with other visiting photographers in the comment section of this blog.Filed Under: Blog