Canon 5D Mark II Stolen During Wedding

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by otto_haring|1, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Yesterday somebody stole my camera while I was shooting a wedding at Signature Grand at Davie, FL. I just put it down at a table for a few minutes to take pictures of the bride and groom with my other camera and when I wanted to pick it up it was no longer there. The management wasn't particularly shocked when I announced the case....
    Please be very careful when you shoot weddings there!

    I always pay attention to make sure that my equipment is secure but I never thought that somebody could take it in less than a minute during a wedding. The bride and groom's getting ready pictures were on the card... SO BE CAREFUL!

    Also, please contact Broward County, FL police department if somebody tries to sell you a Canon 5D Mark II with the following Serial number: 2764B003AA or contact me via

    I hope this helps!
  2. keep an eye out on craigslist for it.
  3. Also watch eBay. You can create a saved search that looks for items posted in a geographical region, like within 200 miles of a particular zip code. It will email you daily with any matching items put up for sale. Good luck, hopefully you'll have it back soon.
  4. Just because they are guests at a wedding, doesn't mean they are good people. I hope you were insured, every working photographer should have liability and equipment insurance.
  5. Sorry to hear of your troubles. I know that had to be a shock. Check the local pawn shops.
  6. Pawn shops are actually pretty tightly regulated and aren't used that commonly for fencing stolen goods anymore. Craig's List seems to be the most common venue.
    You should report the theft of your camera to Canon and have them note it in their service records. If anyone calls to check the service history of this camera they're considering buying (which I've done), Canon will be able to tell them it's stolen. They might even be able to note that a reward for info is available and to put the inquirer in touch with you.
    It would be great if there were some web crawler service that would scan Flickr and other sites for serial numbers of stolen equipment in EXIF information! (Maybe there is...)
  7. I just had my 5d2 and everything else I own stolen in Costa Rica and can sympathize with the OP. Thank God for State Farm is all I can say.
  8. Years ago, there was a ring of thieves in my area stealing gear from wedding photographers. Not only cases and bags, but gear left for just a few moments. One photographer had his camera rig stolen when he put it down by the cake table to go to the bathroom.
    I had a case of gear stolen at a wedding reception. The thieves actually cut through the tripod bag handles to get to the gear, since I had cabled it up. My gear went from Northern California to Southern California in 2 weeks, and one of my cameras ended up on e-bay.
    Insurance is a good idea, of course, but consider that if you file a large claim, you stand a good chance of being dropped, and you will have to find another carrier. Happened to my associate, whose $10,000 of Hasselblad lenses got stolen.
    Moral of the story:
    1. Never leave any gear lying around. Set up so that you can carry your active gear on you. Never put a bag of gear down where you do not have your eyes on it constantly. If you need to go to the bathroom, take your gear with you.
    2. Get an alarmed cable lock. Use it. I use hard cases that can't be cut. Also, good locks. Realize the alarm will not be heard over loud dance music. I carry two cables, in case I want extra security.
    3. Never trust venue personnel to do any watching for you, even in a 'protected' back room. Never rely on the DJ, bartender, or anyone else, such as an assistant or second shooter, unless the assistant's only task is to sit on your gear. The associate mentioned above set his bag by the DJ. The DJ also got his camera stolen. DJs and your assistants or second shooters have other things to do besides watch your gear, and thieves know it. And guests, even if they see your gear being stolen, have no idea it isn't your assistants lifting the gear. Guests saw the thieves that took my gear, but said nothing, of course.
    4. If you have back up gear in the trunk of your car, secure it, and don't go in and out of the trunk unless absolutely necessary. People are watching.
    5. Always put all memory cards in a case on your person--not in your bag. Before leaving for the day, take used memory cards out of the camera, in case you are robbed. Nothing--not even insurance--will get your wedding client's images back, once they are gone. I read about a photographer who had a secret pocket sewn into his pants leg for the memory cards.
  9. Just a thought for you wedding photogs: Would it be feasible to put a clause into your contracts that the client becomes liable for any gear theft/destruction while you are on the job? I recall reading of an event photog whose gear was trashed when the participants got roudy. I thought at the time that crowd control should be the job of the event organizers, not the photog; therefore, liability for the equipment damage should really have fallen on the organizers for failing to control their guests.
  10. Wow! My heart goes out to everyone who has lost gear in this way. :-(

    Also to the poor bride and groom who lost irreplaceable photos.

    I have often wondered what security measures event photographers can take when they leave at the end of the night.
    Losing gear is bad enough, but losing the entire night's work would be tragic for everyone involved except for the dirtbag
  11. I wonder if it is possible to search for a camera's serial number in the metadata of photos posted online. Perhaps you can
    eventually nab the thieves this way.
  12. @Sarah Fox
    Wow! I would NEVER hire a photographer that wanted to hold me (the client) liable for the loss or theft of their gear. That is the photographer's responsibility 100%. End of story.
  13. Just a thought for you wedding photogs: Would it be feasible to put a clause into your contracts that the client becomes liable for any gear theft/destruction while you are on the job?​
    That would be a PR nightmare for a wedding photographer.
  14. I have heard of a few wedding photographers who do put it in their contract that gear damaged by guests or clients' family members will be billed to the client. I believe the impetus for this is the possibility of kids at the wedding causing damage to gear. Or drunken guests. You'd have to look at the actual circumstances. Was it reasonable for the gear to be in a place that kids or guests could damage it? Up to a point, the photographer is responsible for not endangering others at the event by putting gear in places that are unreasonable.
    However, theft is an entirely different story. Good luck trying to recover those kind of costs from clients or venues. This is why many venues require that the photographer have liability insurance. Some also require that the photographer sign a 'hold harmless' document.
  15. I agree you can not hold anyone else responsible for your neglagence. For some people the only way they will ever have a 5D Mark II is to steal it and they were probably following you around waiting for that very moment you set it down and turned your back. More than likely they had help and had been stalking you. This is why I blackout the model number of my camera to make it look cheap and I never ever set it down not even for 1 second. However, here in Oakland, CA you don't have to set your camera down to loose it. You could simply go to the bathroom alone or outside to smoke and get your camera snatched. Same with leaving it in your car, 5 minutes unattended and it is definetely gone. I agree Insurance is always your best bet.
  16. Insurance is great--the first time your gear gets stolen. Better to not have it stolen to begin with.
  17. "Same with leaving it in your car, 5 minutes unattended and it is definetely gone..."
    I hear you. 10 years ago 90% of my Canon gear was stolen out of my car in San Francisco -- near the Fog City Diner. Stupidly I left the gear in a large bag on the floor of my unlocked car. I was gone just 3 mins. to get a finish line photo with my new digital Nikon 990. ;-)
    No doubt tweakers do these sort of thefts. Ever since that rip-off day I've been 99.8% digital. Be careful and wary! Some of us learn lessons the hard way.
  18. You can also list your camera serial number in the Stolen Camera area of Photo Net.
    You might also put in a police report with the Broward County sheriff's office, and Dade County as well.
  19. Ouch! that was a hard pill to swallow, Otto. I'm very sorry about that. The weekend before lqst I was attending a wedding as a guest, so I just had my 5D2 with 50mm lens on it. I left it next to one of my cousins as I dashed to the mens' room. On my way back I stopped to chat with some old friends of mine when suddenly I heard the MC announce that a camera had been found and that the owner should come and claim it. I rushed to the front and to my shock/horror/relief, it was my 5D2. Turns out my cousin hadn't realised I left it next to her and had gone off to say hello to other guests. The security guy spotted it, realised it was worth a few pennies and passed it to the MC. Thank God for that! I left him a decent tip for his quick thinking and honesty. In my part of the world, craigslist isn't really an option. It would be very tricky to trace stolen gear. Thank goodness for insurance! And for a few good men still out there :)
  20. Sorry to hear that Otto, the problem with that place is that there can be many events going on at the same time, weddings, graduations, Bachelor parties, bar mitzvahs etc and to be honest the only one time that I was there didn't really like the crowd.... thanks for the heads up.
  21. Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that. I know it's too late now, but they sell these straps that can hold 2 cameras, you can find them on the web or the back of any photo magazine.
  22. It is pathetic. Sorry to know about your loss.
  23. Very sorry for your loss. I guess I'd like to know what the thieves usually say when they're caught, because some of them are caught. I imagine the opportunistic ones have something different to say from those who methodically plan their thefts out (and I've read stories from both categories here).
  24. I was asked some years ago if i wanted to buy a camera from some local lads because they knew I bought and sold cameras~ they were told not interested. So they asked where they could sell this camera so I sent them to my local Jessops where if you are an honest seller( like most photographers) you have no problem. However, if you want cash, then no matter what the camera is worth they will only pay £60.00 cash over the counter and if you want the full value you are offered a cheque and have to wait Seven days and you leave the camera with them .So these lads sent one of their girlfriend in to sell the camera and when offered only £60.00 pounds cash ( as she was, as instructed, asking for cash there and then) she insisted that she wanted the value of the camera and wanted the cash over the counter but was told no only if you will except a cheque. By this time she was getting nervous and realised she was stood in front of a CCTV camera. What she hadn't realised was that stood next to her was an off duty copper who then followed her to her mates who were all arrested on suspicion or handling stolen goods. The result was that the owner got his camera back and that made my day! I smiled everytime I saw the prat's~ I am sorry for the loss of your kit mate.
  25. Few years back I was looking to buy a used D80, I found one on Craigs list for pretty low price and it was almost unused. The seller said he was no camera expert and didn't know anything about it and that he got it from his friend. I bet it was stolen. I never went and bought it, thought it was all way too fishy.
  26. I didn't read all the responses, so if wasn't already mentioned, check local flea markets (again out to a couple of hundred miles, if possible, maybe friends etc. can help and notify all the photo groups you can within that radius to get more eyes out there). I had a friend whose high-end guitars were stolen a few years ago, with 2/3 turning up at flea markets one in Albuqerque, another in Socorro 80-90 miles south. He got lucky that in both cases – in one the buyer knew he was getting too good of a deal ($100 for a $3000 guitar) and traced down my friend through the guitar mfg who had the records of the serial number/buyer. In the second case, word had gone out on the Internet forums, to local groups, etc. and one of the local bluegrass association members came across the guitar and recognized it from that notice. He bought it and returned it to my friend. The third guitar was never found. Good luck with your situation – such a bummer that people steal items like this and most of the time, just turn them around for pennies on the dollar to supply their drug habits.
  27. "such a bummer that people steal items like this and most of the time, just turn them around for pennies on the dollar to supply their drug habits."
    golly gee whiz, what could we possibly do to reduce the incentive to steal these items? we're just sooooo helpless!
  28. Very sorry for your loss. When I shoot, my primary camera never leaves my neck and my primary camera bag (with memory cards and lenses) never leaves my shoulder, unless I have my husband or a trusted friend with me assisting. If I go to the restroom I take the camera bag with me. Extra gear I try to stash somewhere where I can keep an eye on it. But my own 5D Mk II I treat like a baby; when it's not in my apartment, I never let it out of my sight.
    I also purchased insurance recently, more for the liability than for the equipment coverage. The Willis insurance I bought through the discount on this site says that you have to have a police report and evidence of forced entry, so I don't know if that would cover someone walking off with my gear on a gig. (I actually posted about that on a forum here a few months ago when I was deciding whether or not to go for that insurance.)
  29. Nice helpful, productive answer there, William.
  30. I hope it turns out. As others already noted, craigslist is your best bet. In fact check which allows you to search many cities on craigslist all at once. Similar situation happened to me. I had some very valuable items stolen from me last year during a break-in while I was at work. Some of it was computer, camera, and old collectibles. I was actually able to find a few of the items through craigslook which showed up a state away. Unfortunately law enforcement didn't really do anything. The investigator said he would look into it but never did so I actually contacted the lister through e-mail and using a fake name I set up a time and day to meet. To make a long story short, I went and it was my stuff. Same serial number, same everything. I looked him dead in the eye and said, "These are stolen. I know it."... and walked away. But that night I drove back and smashed every window to every car parked on his property, slashed the tires too, and drove off. Never heard back and the items were taken off craigslist the next day.
  31. I was shooting a wedding reception last summer at the Depot in Minneapolis and I mis-placed my spare camera (that I borrowed from my brother-in-law). I couldn't find it anywhere the next morning and started to get a little worried. Running out of places to look, I called the service desk at the Depot and described the camera, lens and bag that I thought I may have left there the previous night. The person at the desk matter of factly informed me that someone turned it in and that I could pick it up anytime. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I didn't have to fork out $1,500 to my brother-in-law. I learned a lesson, keep track of your stuff.
  32. So sorry to hear about this. I used to have nightmares about my stuff getting stolen. So I have some very standard procedures:
    1. Whatever equipment I am using, it never leaves my body, even when I go to the restroom.
    2. If I have to store equipment at the event, I use a system. I have a Weatherlock tool box, the kind you see on the back of pickup trucks. Amazingly thief proof. I have it loaded with 150 lbs of lead deadweight. It has a common automobile motion detector alarm on it. Because of it's weight and length, no one person can carry it. I wheel it in on a dolly. I cable it to something in the room too large to move. All of this is designed as an encumbrance to the thieves. Given enough time, anybody could steal anything. So time is our best defense. Please see Nadine's response for a similar take. She is right on, as ever.
    3. Also, I savvy people up. I gather the wedding party and tell them "This is my stuff, if you see anyone messing with it, tell me". And I take pictures of all support people, such as kitchen personnel, wait people, band, etc. The decent folk think I'm just taking a pic, but anyone planning a heist knows that I have a record of who they are.

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