D700 stolen

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by andrew_fedon, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. Just back from vacation in London. Complete disaster. Backpack containing D700/mb-d10 (SNo. 2126484)with 24-120mm , 17-35 sigma, 70-300 sigma, passport, airline ticket, all just siphoned away by scumbags operating in the busy Cambden Town area of London, near to London Zoo. Sitting in a restaurant early evening, fell for the "have you got a light ?.." distraction while the partner scumbag siphons the bag from under the table on the other side. Devastated. Holiday ruined. Lots of hassle getting new passport etc.
    And the worst thing about it ? London Police absolutely useless. Not interested. Not a serious enough event to warrent their serious attention. After waiting three and half hours for a cop to show up, they call to say they are too busy to attend and do I want to make a telephone report ? The restaurant, CCTV overlooking the entire scene, captured the whole thing and confirmed to me days later by staff that the footage showed the whole thing, but the boss is not there at the moment. This information goes to the police, but days later the police say " the owner of the restaurant has not cooperated, and we cannot do anything about it" . But this is evidence to a crime, and a gang obviously operating in the area, preying on tourists, which you may catch....... "yes Sir, but if he doesn't hand the footage to us voluntarily, we cannot do anything..." Incredible. Honestly, if I had hair I'd be pulling it out in anger and frustration. Incompetent police, and a restaurant owner who as far as I'm concerned is no better than the thieves.
    Had to bite the bullet, and went and bought another D700, with the 24-85 f/2.8 and the sigma 70-300mm for 2500 pounds. My logic being that at least I can recover some of my holiday and go and retake some of my photos, and worry about the money later. Any similar experiences anyone ?
  2. Can't say that I've had anything close to that happen.
    Sorry for your losses...it hurts the pocketbook...
    I think the next time my wife asks why we take a D40 on vacation with us - I'll show her this.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Andrew, sorry to learn that.
    In the 1990's we lived close to New York City, but usually we went there with a shoulder bag and some NY subway maps, so we kind of looked like tourists.
    Once my wife and I had lunch at a fastfood place. We had a small table and we sat face to face. After we sat down, I placed the bag under the table and I opeded it to check the map. After lunch, the bag was gone. Fortunately, there was no camera inside.
    Now when I sit down, I put my foot inside the loop of the shoulder strap so that people cannot snatch it. Sometimes my camera bag weights 20, 30 pounds. In a way that is safe also since it is hard to run with it.
  4. Well thanks for posting your experience so the rest of us can watch out for this scam. Wife and I traveled around London for 9 days a couple years ago, and ate lunch and dinner at many pubs (we stayed in an apartment so we always had breakfast at home before we went out for the day). One time, in a busy pub just outside Embankment tube station, near the Thames, we were eating dinner and I was on my second beer. And a Brit spoke to me from another table and asked me if I liked bitter, and I said yes, and he gave me the beer. Said it had been placed on his table without his asking, that he didn't order it. I guess it was meant for someone else. Drank half of that, by then I was getting too drunk so we split. Reading your account, I imagine this would be one way to get my bag, which was sitting on the bench next to me, while I leaned over and got the beer from the guy. Thankfully my wife was sitting on the other side of the bag so it couldn't happen. But if I were by myself I'd have to be a lot more wary. Anyway, sucks to be a victim of crime. I hope you got a printed police report so you can report it to your insurance when you get home. Should be full coverage for all items lost minus your deductible.
  5. Andrew,
    This is just a thought. Since it was captured on CCTV and happened in a restaurant, try filing a claim against the restaurants insurance. I don't know what the insurance laws in England are. But, the worst that could happen is that the insurance company just declines the claim. I had a coworker that damaged his $1000 (ea) auto rims on freeway construction (metal plates covering pits). He complained to the CALTRANS and they referred him to the contractors insurance that ended up writing a check to replace the rims. Just a thought.
  6. Similar to Shun, I put the leg of the chair I'm sitting on inside the strap and keep my leg in contact with the bag.
  7. Give nobody anything. A light. Spare change. Conversation. Nothing. Protect your stuff!
  8. I was late meeting a friend for dinner (and very annoyed that he was being so picky about a restaurant) and quickly parked and went to eat. While we were eating, a thief broke into my car and stole my messenger bag, which had my laptop.
    The police basically don't care. I was parked in an area covered by security cameras, and this was all recorded. The police know that most of the time, this stuff is covered by homeowners insurance, and they're too busy taking care of public safety and such to care about break ins. They told me it would take 2 hours to send a cop to take the report, and actually told me to file a report through a website.
    Really sorry about your stuff. There are some real scumbags around...
  9. I hate these kind of people. They can have better things to do elsewhere, but chose to steal from others instead.
    Could it be the bag was too bling? They must have been following from a distance.
    At least you are safe & unharmed.
  10. gen


    Did you have insurance to cover the loss? I need to look into insurance now that I have a D700...
  11. bmm


    Andrew - first of all, and despite what I'm about to write, sorry about your stuff. Its a horrid feeling and is all too common anyplace where you are visiting and an obvious tourist. Certainly its a common experience here in Paris.
    That said, guys remember that for the one experience like this there are a thousand lovely people wanting to genuinely interact and be friendly. And I get sad when people use anecdotes like this to worry, fear, and close themselves up.
    So Jack, I hope your response was sarcastic and exaggerated, because "protecting your stuff" is to me a million times less important than being an open, generous person that connects with the world that he/she lives in.
    And to David, quite simply there is only one thing more stupid than losing your best camera gear on vacation and that's not taking it there in the first place, and going with some inferior compromise instead.
  12. And what if the police take any action? The stuff is already sold, the thief doesn't own anything, so he can't pay for new stuff, the only thing what's hapening he/she goes to jail and starts over again in 1 or 2 years.
  13. Sorry to hear of your loss, and ashamed that it happened in my city. Hopefully your insurance will cover the monetary loss .
    While I agree with BM Mills that an essential part of humanity is about being open and generous, this does not mean you should not be cautious. The other side of human nature, unfortunately, is greed and taking advantage of others.
    I've been the victim of distraction theft only once (was only my spare bottle of beer while waiting on a train platform - was a while ago - you can't drink on train platforms anymore in London!), and I'm always cautious now when anyone approaches me.

    I only ever use public transport and sometimes carry about 15,000+GBP worth of gear in a backpack, often late at night travelling back from a show and not through the best areas of London (in fact, in London "good" and "bad" areas are often side by side so it doesn't matter where you are). I always have my arm or foot through a strap when its not on my back.
    Re the restaurant CCTV - in the UK the freedom of information act means that you are entitled to have a copy of the footage by law, and if the restaurant does not supply it within a certain time they can be prosecuted (the comedian Mark Thomas has used this law to get footage of himself dressed as cartoon characters in front of sensitive government buildings). They are entitled to charge you a fee for this, maximum 10pounds I think. A small price if it helps to nail the thieves.
  14. Very sorry this happened in England, but as others have said - it could have been anywhere. I've heard stories in other countries of peoples bag being snatched by passing thief on a motorbike carrying a big knife used to slash through the bag strap..
    Honestly, however bad you feel, I think there's no point in your spending lots of effort in following this up if the police aren't interested - as someone has said, you'll never get the stuff back anyway.
    The key to it is proper INSURANCE - anyone travelling should have PLENTY of it, and make sure there's no silly exclusions such as limits on the value of individual items, etc, so your stuff is fully covered .
    I agree too, that however you feel, you still need to be 'friendly to the locals' as 99.9% of them have only the best intentions.
  15. Andrew,
    Sorry to hear about your misfortune. My solution to this type of potential disaster when I travel is to use a large, locking carabiner design for serious rock climbers and lock the bag's strap to the table leg, chair leg, railing or whatever is close. If you use one that's wide enough it'll hold a few shoulder bags and/or purses, too.
  16. Firstly, no, unfortunately I didn't have insurance. My mistake, but here where I lived that sort of thing just happen often. Maybe I'm naive, but I gave human nature the benefit of the doubt for the best. After this, have to agree with Jack's statement. Dave Lee, you were probably right to be suspicious. Thats the kind of innocent looking thing that a scammer would get up to. I wouldn't have touched that drink. It could have been spiked, you pass out and wake up to find all your possesions gone. Nothing is beyond these scumbags. One mistake I may have made, is while waiting for the food I had my camera out and was reveiwing my photos. I realise now that maybe I should not have done that.
    Jose P, this person (an Italian restaurant, run by Turks, and a Turkish owner), does not cooperate to hand over the CCTV footage to the police, and you think he will let you claim on his insurance ? I just called the police now, three weeks after the event, and nothing has been done. As someone said, nobody cares. In the first days when I was saying to the police that they need to go and rcover the CCTV footage, they were saying "well, we have a 5 day backlog of cases, sorry" . Low priority. Then it became " if they don't hand us the CCTV footage we can't do anything" To the Turkish owner you are just another shmuck tourist thats been robbed and not worth the trouble. Why waste any of his time ? But no fears, I found the website to his four restaurants that he owns, and the comments that I will be bombarding his feedback page with I dare not repeat here. As far as I'm concerned, someone that prevents the police from finding the theives that stole your goods is as good as the theives themselves.
  17. After hearing of my plight, somebody pointed out to this clipping in one of the UK papers last week, and I thought it was hilarious and worth sharing. If only all thieves were so dumb. The tourist couple are posing for a self timed photo, while a thief takes advantage of their distraction to steal their bags. He didn't calculate on the being caught in the picture though, and being caught !
  18. A similar thing happened to me in Lima, Peru. I lost everything - suitcase and camera bag. It was 6:00 in the morning, and I was waiting on the street curb to catch a taxi to take me to the airport for the return flight home. I was half asleep at that hour.
    A fellow tapped me on the shoulder and spoke to me in Spanish, about which I know little. As I was trying figure out what he wanted, a car had rushed up to the curb, and someone inside snatched everything. I turned to see the car screeching down the street and the car door closing with my bags inside. I turned again to the fellow I had spoken too, and he too was running down the street.
    Now, I am always physically in contact with my luggage and camera bag. In restaurants or other public places, the camera bag strap is always around my leg. Want the bag, you take the leg!
  19. Andrew,
    As a Londoner I am sorry to hear of your loss, lets be grateful it was only financial.
    Unfortunately, there are a number of scumbags in the city as there are everywhere else in the world.
    Re getting the video tape footage and the Freedom of Information Act, you only have a legal right to obtain this from a public body, if it's privately held the owner needs to agree. Most likely the cameras weren't operational anyway.
    Why the couple of mentions of the Turkish owner, what has his nationality got to do with it?
    And the police? They're probably focusing on violent crime, etc
    For any future readers of this post and as general advice, London is a great city, full of friendly residents who live in one of the most cosmopiltan cities in the world and welcome visitors with open arms. Camden is one of the most touristy areas in London and I have no idea why anyone would visit there, same goes for Leceister square, Piccadilly circus etc, these areas therefore attracts thieves who know there will be tourists there who probably carry lots of cash and valuables, and that may not be as 'streetwise' as someone who lives in London, New York, LA etc, It probably isn't advisable to display £000's worth of very portable equipment for all to see.
    I think avoiding talking to people is the worst thing to do, just take sensible precautions with expensive stuff.
    Avoid eating in toutist hot spots like Camden, the food it likely to be awful, and they'll be expensive, get off the beaten track and explore London, it's a great city to wander round.
  20. very sorry to hear about this, and also about the police response. I am a bit surprised, as when I was mugged in London a couple of years ago, the police came within minutes, offered to fingerprint my possessions that had been handled to trace the villains, and were generally very helpful. Perhaps the difference was that mugging is potentially violent, whereas you lost only property. The other problem the police face, as in my case, is that there is little chance that overseas visitors will return to give evidence in court if the thief is caught and prosecuted, but I would think they should ask you this first rather than assume it.
  21. Well, at least you got rid of that sorry excuse for a lens (24-120). Just kidding. I am truly sorry to hear of your horrible experience. I, too, lost a camera (FA + 35-105MF) to thieves in Spain when I was in the Army. The theft happened at a Navy supper club on base! I left the camera on my chair when I went to the salad bar and when I came back, it was gone. Now I never leave the thing behind. When I sit in a public area such as an airport, I slip my leg into the case strap and put my foot firmly on the ground. The thief would have to knock me off my chair to get the bag or cut the strap.
    This is why I insure my camera equipment and I hope that you did, too. You don't have to be a pro photographer to buy this insurance and it is very cheap. I get mine from an insurance company headquartered in Bloomington, Ill., known for its car insurance and have had one claim since then and was completely satisfied with the outcome.
    I hope you were able to retake some of the photos.
  22. Ugh, that sucks. I am really careful about my gear when I am out - I always have one hand on it, a foot on a strap or a strap under a chair leg if possible.
    I am not a pro by any means but I have spent quite a bit on equipment over the last few years and the first thing I did when I bought my D80 kit was call my insurance agent. A policy to cover camera equipment is cheap IMO. I now have $6000 coverage (I just gave copies of my reciepts and they asked what I wanted covered - I said all of it) and it costs me about $50 a year. I was asked if I was using the equipment professionally because if I was the policy would be about double the cost - still reasonable in my opinion. I said no, it's just an expensive hobby. It covers ANYTHING that happens to my stuff and there is no deductable.
  23. Andrew M, I too am a Londoner, even though I now live abroad and visit the tourist attractions wHich I greatly enjoy and miss when I'm back in London visiting family. Tourist London, museums, zoo, etc is great. Re: "Most likely the cameras weren't operational anyway", if you read my original post, I said the staff members days later actually confirmed to me what they saw on the video, not realising probably that their boss was not going to cooperate. Its the boss thats seems to be the uncooperative so-and-so. Thats what makes it so annoying. He is actually actively obstructing the investigation as far as I'm concerned. That road on Camden is the main route between Camden Town Stn and London Zoo, and these vultures know that thousands of tourists traverse this road to go to the zoo every day, all loaded with cameras and money. The police, if they had half a set of balls, should have jumped at the opportunity to arrest a pair of these vultures.
    Why mention that he's Turkish ? Because he is. Maybe his attitude is different. Maybe an Englishman would have been more cooperative with the police. All I know is that 3000 pounds of my hard earned money, plus passports and a ruined holiday have been snuffed away, and the person who could help the police is actively obstructing them, then to me he is the same as the thieves, and I have no qualms about mentioning his nationality. Infact there are quite a few things I would like to say about him but they would probably get deleted. All he had to do was put the footage on disc and hand it to the police. End of matter. Instead, the police say he's never there when they call, he won't reply to their calls, and the staff are forbidden to give out his details. So I don't do nice when it comes to people like this.
    I'm glad so many people have mentioned their experiences. I never imagined that so many ways of scamming people out of their cameras could possibly exist. It has certainly been an eye opener. John McGill your experience and mine go to show how audatious and brazen these people can be. I hope this all helps others to be aware for these things.
  24. Central Park NYC - bag containing 5d and assorted lenses taken while I was distracted with my son..... but State Farm were good for most of it (i have a camera rider on my homeowners policy covering the equipment !).
  25. Sorry about your loss...My stuff was almost stolen while I was setting up mu tripod at "Sacré Coeur"...Luckily I had my bag in the corner of my eye when I caught the guy! The only excuse he came up with for touching my bag was that he was moving it to lean against the wall...That didn't satisfy me and he got a couple of slaps! Same thing for the "guy" who stole my wallet in the Metro which I caught up with, got my money back and everything else!!!Cops don't have time for my stuff so I'll do what I have to do to get it back myself!!
    P.S. I do have insurance for my stuff though but it's the principle that makes me MAD!!!!
  26. Nice one Pascal ! Only a couple of slaps ? I think they deserved more.
    Mark M, re the 24-120mm lens, its the older one and I didn't really have any problems with it, but because of all the recent comments here, I took the opportunity to get the 24-85mm f/2.8 when replacing my gear. Is that better ?
  27. My commiserations. Many years ago, I was the victim of distraction while in Barcelona. I was en route to the airport on my last 3 hrs. Wasn't insured. Made it back to London with no passport, airticket or money, which was a blessing. Got my bag back 3 mths later(!) with my passport and my old Pentax camera and all my film(!) but lost wallet. for 3 mths, I had salivated over getting a Nikon F100 (which is now pretty cheap). I guess the thief had no idea what to do with a manual focus camera.
    The distractor spoke in English and asked the innocent question, "Do you have the time?" I showed him my watch and was distracted for perhaps 6 secs. My mistake.
    Since then, I have always been suspicious of the most harmless question such as the one I fell for (which is commonly used). The more innocent the question, the more one should beware.
    As a Londoner, it's pretty safe. But I meet beggars every day.
    It is just possible that some of the kit is recovered. The thief will want your wallet and anything he can sell quickly. Anything else just wastes his/ her time. He will have dumped the bag soon after.
  28. Not sure if it helps Andrew, but suffice to say that it can be hard for police to catch criminals even when they have video.
    In our office, some men broke a window in one of the side offices, and hopped in, took all 3 laptops that happened to be in the room, and took off with them. The security video has their car, their faces, and everything, but the resolution wasn't good enough to pull a license plate number.
    In San Francisco, there was a wave of crime where these young men would randomly assault people on the train platform. One elderly woman was thrown onto the train tracks with no reason. They assaulted another elderly man who subsequently *died* from his injuries. All these crimes were caught on surveillance video, and police were still unable to identify the criminals.
    I'm also a bit surprised that this happened in London, which I've always found to be a very safe and welcoming city, but I suppose in all big metropolitan areas, these sort of things can occur. It might be slightly comforting to know that these scumbags probably lead miserable lives.
  29. A clear cut picture is emerging from this discussion regarding theft of camera bags. Always a distractor who distracts the victim, while someone else steals the goods.
    Philip, they managed to catch the thief in the newspaper clip above, just by seeing his backside !
  30. A photographer i know was once mugged in mexico city when he was using his brand new leica M6. the thief wouldn't take "that piece of s..." he took his wallet and watch.
    in another part of mexico city, a couple of guys tried to steal Abbas's leica. they were both repelled and slamed with the camera by the photographer.
    A few years ago,in Pittsburg this time, a certain W.Eugene Smith's leicas were stolen from his car. the police couldn't care less. they told him to go look for them at pawn shops. he found them there, he had to buy them back, and guess what. the robbers took phnotographs of each other and left the film in the cameras. this time they got caught.
    A few weeks ago, i almost got mugged in barcelona by a couple of punks. had it not been for my wife,who is always looking for potential thieves instead of checking out the local architecture, i would be one camera down at this moment. ( yes, i was carrying a leica )
  31. I know, because i have seen them, that there is an alarm that you put in your bag and it beeps a device that you carry with you when the camera bag is at a certain distance from you. either becuase you forgot to pick it up or somebody took it. i just don't remember who sells them.
  32. Wow Dave, how many times has Barcellona cropped up in this discussion ? Sounds like a vicious place. What exactly happened ?
    That sounds (excuse the pun) like a great device Dave. I'm sure a lot of people here would be interested if you could remember more details.
  33. We were walking back to the hotel from the ramblas. this guy asks me for something, i don't pay too much attention to him, and my wife says to me " they want to rob us, walk quickly", i turn to my wife and say, relax is ok and then turn to the guy and tell him to get away, he starts to talk back to me and my wife goes balistic. now it's them who got scared and they just backed off. she tells me later that they were exchanging hand signals before one of them approached me.
  34. As someone who has gone through the awful process of having gear stolen, I feel your pain Andrew, seriously. I can only suggest you not to give up on the police report and try to convince the restaurant owner into handling the footage to them. And not because you may recover your gear, but because at some point in the future, those thieves may be caught, and then there will be more evidence against them. Sadly that's what you can only hope to sometimes.
    Some years ago I had to spend almost a year in Mexico City, traveling to my hometown once, sometimes twice a month. Hard to believe but nothing bad happened to me there. Then, just two days after my assignment ended, when I was back in my house, I went to buy some supplies. Being away for so long, there was a lot of things that needed to be bought. I was out two hours to the supermarket, when I came back I found my house vandalized. Besides every piece of electronic equipment, they took my two SLRs, lenses, tripods, and worst of it all, a bag where I kept unprocessed film. Most of it from my wedding day.
    Sometimes I feel like I haven't got over that one yet.
  35. Re "A clear cut picture is emerging from this discussion regarding theft of camera bags. Always a distractor who distracts the victim, while someone else steals the goods."
    Like the Nikkormat on Full Metal Jacket
  36. I guess a P&S camera does have some usefulness after all to a seasoned photographer! And I suppose traditional camera bags are a no-no while travelling.
    Andrew, enjoy your new D700!
  37. Nothing worse than a damn thief. One thing I have always done in a situation like that is if I place my gear bag on the floor next to me, I thread my foot through the strap so if someone grabs the bag, it will not go anywhere and I am immediately alerted so I can promptly kick their ass!
  38. An 36 inch (1 m) loop of light cord and two midsize carabiners is great for all sorts of uses. Go thru your camera or purse or backpack strap and anchor to a table leg or chair arm. You can be taking a nap on a bus or train using your bag as a pillow and the snatch and grab s**t-heads are brought up short. Ever go into a filthy toilet stall that has no hook to hang your bag? Use one of the carabiners like a climbers chock , dropping it on the outside of the stall door just above the top hinge in the crack between the door and the post upon which it swings. The cord is on the inside of the stall with the other carabiner to which you attach your bag. No more putting your bag on the floor.
  39. You know, in the Middle East, they cut off the hands of thieves. They only get two opportunities to steal. It may be a harsh policy, but it works.
  40. That's a very sad story..... I travel to the UK a couple of times a year and my friends keep yelling at me coz they think I am so careless with my camera stuff. I just leave the camera on the tables and things like that the same i usually do it in Japan. I never had a problem and it bothers me the way my friends react about.... Now I know why and i will be more careful next time....
    Sorry for your lost and thank you for sharing your bad experience.... Cheers!
  41. Stories like this almost make me wish that cruel and unusual punishment was still in vogue. When we were in Spain in 2002, my daughter, who was stationed there at the time, parked her car at a good vantage point for us to take some shots of the walled city of Avila, but she didn't lock the car. Several other cars parked near us and most were photographers also, but one car with young people in it, just stayed a few minutes. When we returned our car, my wife's purse was gone, complete with passport, credit cards, driver's license, etc.
    We drove inside Avila and went to the police station. They were very helpful, and handed my wife a phone to call the US to cancel the credit cards. When she was done, the policeman took a call, and said that a purse had been found in a department store and would we wait while they brought it in. It turned out to be my wife's purse, minus the credit cards and about $20 in cash. Passport and driver's license were in the purse. If the thieves had come with it, I would have given them another $20 and thanked them for making the purse findable.
    I am in the process of documenting my 100+ cameras, and I have already taken out an addition to my home insurance to cover them along with my wife's sterling silver. Cost is about $15/ month.
  42. holy crap. I'm so sorry. That's probably the most awful thing ever.
    I really hope something good comes your way in the future that brightens things up a bit.
  43. I have a bad beat with photo gear. Once i got mugged on the street ( 3 russian guys locked me up one was holding knife at my throat, second was holding me and third with knife snatched off photo bag strap. ) And second time robbers breaked into my house and stole tv + photo bad with it's contents.
    I see that Barcelona is quiet often mentioned. One of my colleagues got mugged as he said in a "classy style" ( lost gear ~8k gbp 5dmk2 + 85 1.2, 70-200 etc ) Car stopped, man came out showed fake police ID and wanted to search for drugs, one of them searched other distracted photographer and few seconds later he was standing on a street alone with no gear. It all happened in few seconds. So be careful.
  44. Sorry to hear that. What a horror story. But what a dedicated photographer to turn around and pick right up and start taking pictures. It's fortunate you could afford to do that. Too bad about the lack of cooperation from the restaurant. Wonder if they've had many incidents there?
  45. I feel for you Andrew. Although I have never been robbed or stolen from on vacations, my house had been bulglarized before. I agree the police is useless in these cases. They are simply not interested in helping you. You call them, they come (without any real urgency), fill out a report (for you to file for insurance claims), and forget about you. At least they could have taken finger prints, but no one bothered. The thieves were trying to steal my 27" CRT TV, but failed because it was too heavy, and left their finger prints all over. Nope. You just have to protect yourself somehow.
    One item I would recommend while travelling is a waist bag. I have the Lowepro Sideline Shooter. It is big enough to house a D700 (without the grip) with a standard zoom lens, plus an extra lens or flash, or some other important stuffs like your wallet or passport. The good thing about this is, the waist bag stays on you all the time, sitting down, walking, shooting, changing lenses. There is no need to set it down, or remembering to tie a strap around a table leg or something. I found it an essential bag for my travels to Europe, US, Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, China. Some places are safer than others, but you never know when your luck runs out.
    Another advantage of a waist bag is that it puts the weight on your hips, so you never feel the weight. If the bag is filled and heavy, it may make walking up stairs a bit awkward, but just hold up the bag using the front handle will lessen the discomfort.
  46. Real thanks to everyone for all the kind words of support, but reading the above it seems like mine was a minor event compared to what others have gone through ! Arthur O, that was terrible ! In Russia I presume ? Crickey what an eyeopener this been ! I'm real glad we've discussed this and made a few more people aware, because I certainly wasn't until I read all the above. Thanks guys. if we've saved one persons gear in the future, it would have been worth it.
    Barry F, no I couldn't afford to really. I just had a good friend back home who was kind enough to deposit loads of cash in my credit card account so I could buy the new stuff while still in London. I must admit my moral took a boost when I had my new baby in my hands again, whilst trying not to think of the hard earned money that I still have pay back for it.
  47. Andrew,
    sorry to hear of your loss - a good holiday ruined by a couple of seconds.
    I had a long weekend (Fri-Sun) trip to NY in the early 1990s (great time, great place), and had my Pentax Super-A razor-bladed off my shoulder on the Sunday afternoon without me realising. Bummer, but in compensation had a fab couple of hours at the local police station (something like an episode of Hill St Blues). Their report let me get a new camera from the insurance company and I only lost the few shots I had taken on the roll.
    Now I use a LowePro 300W Slingshot which is big enough to carry enough gear for most trips and means I don't have to take the bag off when taking a shot as it slides round easily.
    I guess the moral of the story is keep your wits about you, don't advertise your gear (I have changed my Nikon strap for a black no-brand grippy one), put the bag strap under a table/chair leg if possible when sitting, and have good insurance.
  48. So sorry to read your story. Camden is renowned for just this kind of thing, unfortunately. My own experience in the UK involved my purse, which I'd put into the baby seat of my shopping cart while putting groceries into the trunk of my car.
    I suddenly noticed a car speeding directly towards me, and as I moved out of the way an arm came out of the car window and grabbed at the straps of my bag! Fortunately I was faster, and swung the cart round into the car door; the would-be thief let go of the bag and the car sped off.
    I reported it to the police who told me this wasn't uncommon. I'm much more careful, now.

    There are several things you need to do, now. I always recommend people in your situation in the US to make sure they inform us - as well as the other big retailers of used gear such as B&H and KEH of the serial numbers of your equipment; so check out who that would be in the UK and get onto them.
    As I recall, the 2 most popular places for unloading all sorts of stuff are a couple of weekly rags: Exchange & Mart and Loot. Unfortunately going through them is a bit tedious.
    Another possibility is to check out www.Iwantmycameraback.com, which is a photographic equipment serial number collective base for items which have been declared stolen or lost.
    You can complete all the details about stolen / lost equipment on the site, such as the brand, the model, the serial number and also information which concerns the place, the time of loss and finally an email address for further contact. Photographic supply shops, service centers, prospective buyers and whoever else wishes to, can, by using the search engine provided by this website, search through equipment serial numbers to find out if it has been declared lost or stolen.

    I remember reading in the original press release that iwantmycameraback was aspiring to become a universal database for lost and stolen equipment so it would no longer be necessary to inform every service center, photographic supply shop or photographer independently in case of loss. I've no idea how successful it has been but I guess anything is worth a shot.
    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

  49. bmm


    As an expat in Paris who every day sees what tourists do to make themselves SO vulnerable on metros and around town, I have to agree with the second half of Elliot's statement above re camera bags. The manufacturers of these products do us no favours at all in making it so obvious that they are specificially for the purpose of containing expensive gear. (By the way Andy Chubb, your Lowepro Slingshot advertises your gear a million times more than any strap ever will).
    99.9% of safety while travelling is to make no-one notice you and no-one wonder what you are carrying in the first place. Neutral clothing, small generic bag(s), and a relaxed attitude (I say that last bit as, past a certain point, being too security conscious and paranoid draws attention in itself and is therefore counter-productive - eg the tourists who insist on carrying their backpacks on their bellies to supposedly deter pickpockets, or who cover all their gear in locks and wires, but only end up looking silly and making everyone wonder even more what they are protecting).
  50. I was in London with my wife, it was a beautiful sunny day and we had just spent the day walking around Belgravia and were walking into Knightsbridge to find a place to eat. We were staying nearby in South Kensington. Knightsbridge is a very posh, expensive part of London, with tons of expensive cars and of course Harrod's department store. So I had my Nikon D300 hanging from around my neck, with the Nikon 16-85mm VR zoom, and we paused on the sidewalk with a map to see what was around the area to see. And a man walked right up to me and said to me "I live locally, can I help you with any directions?" And I responded to him that no, that was OK, we were just looking at the map to see where we would go next. And then he commented that I had a very nice camera, a beautiful camera, and I should be more careful around the area and put it in my bag (I had my day bag on a shoulder strap and kept my camera inside at times). I told him thanks and he walked away. I felt perfectly safe in that neighborhood, I suppose because it was such a nice area, but it was a busy, bustling area in any case, and I suppose anything could happen.
    Mysterious man in blue shirt, who warned me to keep my D300 in my bag, walks away, in London's Knightsbridge area, September, 2008.
  51. Andrew (and others too), sorry to hear of your experiences with thieves. And thanks for pointing me to this thread from Wednesday Pic-thread.
    I might as well share my story, or rather a story of my friend and my camera. My D50 and 18-55 VR stolen few weeks ago in a long distance train. I had loaned the camera to my good friend and he was returning from the trip he made by train. The camera was in the bag, and he placed the bag to overhead luggage shelf which was quite full of other bags, jackets, etc.
    In the next station, some guy near him stands up, reaches for the shelf and calmly takes my friend's bag and just walks out from the train. My friend didn't even notice until the train had left the station so there was nothing to do. Other passengers had basically seen what had happened, but no one had realized that it was my friend's bag that the thief was holding. It could not have been a mistake since there were no similar bags nearby, and the conductor told that there has been other incidents like that in the same station and stations nearby. My friend lost his MacBook and couple of weeks worth of work, so my camera was the least valuable of the things he lost. Luckily his insurance covered everything that was stolen.
    I myself have been more lucky, never have had any gear stolen directly from me, even when I have roamed through not-so-nice-neighborhoods and even-more-not-so-nice-bars. Partly because I've always been rather careful to the point of nearly being slightly paranoid, keeping my gear always in contact with my body and camera in my bag when I'm not using it, and using normal looking bags instead of obvious camera bags. But maybe some of my luck can be explained by the fact that I tend to look a bit shady myself. :)
  52. Dave, sounds like the man knew what he was talking about for him to comment like that. I think walking with it around your neck is not a good idea even in the best of areas.
    Anyhow, there seems to have been some progress in my case. Just phoned in to the police in the UK, as I have been constantly pestering them, even from abroad, and was told that a police constable has brought in a copy of the video to be reviewed. Three weeks later, Halleluya ! Hard ball seems to have paid off, Lupo, and I had been in hardball mode since. A couple of days before I left the UK, I wrote him a letter to two of his restaurants, basically saying that as far as I'm concerned he was actively preventing the police investigation, and helping the thieves, and that I therefore hold him responsible and will sue him in court for all my damages. In addition, I told him, having discovered his website, will be bombarding it with very negative comments, if he does not cooperate. It seems to have done the job. He's done his part now as far as I'm concerned.
    I wait to see if anything comes of the video, and will be calling in a couple of days to see. Will keep everyone posted.
  53. You've just learned the meaning of Eurotrash... In my old job I used to travel quite a bit and the places that were the worst for having things stolen wasn't the third world countries it was always Europe. You should also keep a very careful eye on your credit card statements when you get back, people in the hotels and cafes over there are also prone to stealing your credit card info and going on spending sprees.
  54. If you have renters or homeowners insurance you should be covered. If not, you should get it, ideally with a rider for the equipment. Compared to a D700, it's nada for money and would leave you in a much better position.
    That said, it sucks and I'm sorry it happened to you.
  55. Haha, Barcelona does seem to be the hot topic!
    I too have a Barcelona experience. It was myself, but when I was on LaRambla a nice Swedish woman was walking down the street and team of thieves tried to snatch her purse via the cut and run method. She managed to hold onto it, and I don't think they realized she was with her hotheaded Spanish husband who promptly chased one of the kids down, knocked him onto the ground, and spit on him...then everyone went on with their day.
    It's actually a very lovely city. Crooks like the ones in this thread are everywhere. The key it to be on the lookout always. I always carry messenger style/shoulder bags that I can swing in front of me, or have it zipped up and smashed under my arm. Always watching people...I'm a horribly suspicious person (but can still find a way to be friendly :)...and ALWAYS have my bad looped around my ankle when I'm at a restaurant or cafe. Keep the passport on your body in one of those silly inner belt things. Or leave it in the safe at the hotel and only bring copies with you. I usually have 4 or 5 copies of my passport in all my different bags.
    This kind of thing can happen in every city in the world. And does. Often. All day every day. Small towns in the middle of nowhere...not usually as much. Less crowds don't offer crooks as many opportunities to distract people and blend in with the crowds.
    I also caught the many mentions of the owner being a Turk :) I personally think it's a cop out (no pun intended) by the police officers. The bottom line is for them that no violence occurred and you are indeed another sucker tourist that got your bag snatched. Not that it's right, but I'm sure they knew that the case was going to be pretty much a dead end. It's not like survellience cameras in the cafe are so great that there would be a magic image. And it's also not like they are going to be putting out some kind of police bulliten on something like this..................
  56. Now, on a ligher note, recently in the leica forum, the owner of a restaurant in santa monica, california, was asking on how to find the owner of a leica M9 the somebody forgot. everybody there gave recommendations and finally,thanks to leica new jersey,he was able to find the french and very grateful owner.

    We still have hope.
  57. Outside of the event, near Avila in Spain, my European trips have been wonderful. Trips to the UK, two trips to Spain, and 8 day river cruise on the Danube in 2008. My wife and daughter walked the last 112 km of the Santiago do Compostela pilgrimage in 2007 and they were vulnerable to god knows what,but had a wonderful time. I am too old and decrepit to tote a heavy SLR or DSLR around on such trips, so I take a Canon A650IS P&S and my wife has an Canon A620. We carry them in a jacket pocket or pouch and they are visible only when actually taking a photo. The only thing think I am giving up on such excursions is a lens wider than 35mm. Too much photo gear can get in the way of the vacation. I only take the heavyweights when I am using my own car, and I never leave them unattended in the car. I often take my 100 pound Old English Sheepdog with me, who has a thunderous bark, but the only real danger he poses is that you might get licked to death. I used to have a concealed carry permit and a Walther PPK/S, but that was only to get me to the target range without hassle. I think the laws in my area (NW US) are that if you shoot someone in the act of stealing your camera, no matter how expensive, you will be in more trouble than the crook.
    The economy is driving good people to desperation.
  58. I never let the camera & bag out of my sight. I always have a hand on it all the time. Even in L.A. Watch out if you go to Hollywood Blvd., as there are bump-and-distract teams of thieves all about.
  59. I was at a street market last night; we parked a little distance away & my husband was concerned that my purse was a bit too easy for someone to dip their hand into if they so chose. He keeps one of those big insulated cool bags from Trader Joe's in the trunk just in case - so I put my purse inside that; it is very sturdy and has a strong zipper.
    I put my wallet & credit cards in that and felt a lot safer wandering around. It got me thinking, you could get quite a bit of camera gear in one of those.
  60. Andrew: may I add my sympathies over your experience in London, and also praise you for your 'hardball' persistence. I hope that it pays off in full!
    I don't suppose anywhere is safe these days, and I agree with those who take precautions like looping a strap around a leg or keeping pricey gear out of sight. Are any camera or other shoulder bags made more secure against knife cutting by having a braided steel cord sewn into the hems of the straps?
    Perhaps a good ruse would be to have a cheap plastic disposable camera hung around your neck, with the good gear in a plain bag? That might make you of less interest to thieves. An old hint I once read was not to take major banknote cash or valuables to the bank, safe deposit, etc in a professional-grade security case handcuffed to your wrist. That is a clear advertisment. Instead, wrap the 'dosh' in an old paper and take it in a downmarket supermarket plastic bag: Tesco, Wallmart, Safeways. You are unlikely to be mugged for what looks like a couple of pounds of sausages.
    In the 1970s Crete was as near to 100% safe as one could get. The locals might steal each others sheep and women, but never anything from a welcome stranger. Our first experience was having to wait 3 hours for our bus in Heraklion. Where to leave our luggage while we had a look around? "Oh, just leave it against the wall over there." Apprehensively we did just that, and it was fine. We spoke to others who had forgetfully left cameras or valuables on taverna tables. The cameras etc were not touched all day. The taverna owner took them in when he closed for the night, and handed them over to the absent minded owners who realized the next day where they had left them. These days I would not trust half the tourists who come to the island.
  61. Beautiful Barcelona! I love that city, but I almost fell for the two thief trick there. Actually I did. A man approaches from the front and asks my wife and I for a light. I'm trying to translate, and I feel a faint tickling at my side. My camera (D700 + 24-70) was right by my side and I felt the strap brush me as another guy was grabbing it. I was faster however and snatched it back. Then he told me to be more careful with my things and scampered off. They were so smooth and collected that it took us several minutes just to put together what happened. I now always loop the strap through an arm or leg when I sit.
    As to the comment about not being conspicuous, that can be a bit tricky. Even with the obvious bag, you have the issue of the camera itself. I was just in Belize street shooting with a D3s + 24/1.4G. That is pretty hard to hide, and it did attract attention. At one point things got pretty dicey, but I tried to stay aware of my surrounds and plan my exits, gauging that I could at least outrun them if need be.
  62. On May 25th this year (bicentennial of the first Argentine government) I was walking around Congreso square watching the celebrations. I got into a tent to attend a demonstration of indigenous peoples. I took some pictures there with my D700. After a while, I got out with the camera hanging around my neck, decided to keep it into my back pack and began walking to Plaza de Mayo square, ten blocks ahead. I had the fleeting sensation that someone was walking behind me, very near.
    Suddenly a man (in English, assuming that I was a tourist) noticed me that I had a very big grease stain that covered the left side of my jacket, backpack and trousers. He tried to help me, but I immediately asked him to stay away: this is a very common trick in Buenos Aires streets: “helpers” take advantage of your astonishment and go away with your possessions, backpack, camera, wallet, whatever they can grasp. My bicentennial party was spoiled but fortunately I could save the camera.
  63. Andrew, I am so sorry with your loss. Wow. what a bad experience.
    I hope you can recover soon!
  64. Sorry to hear about your loss, Andrew, but it's good to know this guy eventually gave the footage to the Police. I've been living in London since January, and fortunately the worst I've had to suffer is the incompetence of a few people at Barclays. My petite ex g/f also had no issues at all in the few weeks she spent here... and then someone stole her wallet out of her purse when she got back to spain. Near Bilbao, not Barcelona, by the way.
    London has been a tough place to meet people outside work. Nevertheless, returning from work, I once saw a guy in the Green Park tube station with a rangefinder. Since I had never seen one being used, I politely asked the guy how he did it to focus. I suppose I didn't look too dangerous with a backpack and 5 bags from Sainsbury's full of stuff, so we ended up having a nice conversation. The camera turned out to be a Leica M5, and the lens an f/1.4, so I still don't know how this guy kept talking to me instead of running.
    Finally, I spent two months in New York last year for work. As soon as I picked up my luggage at JFK, a crook managed to convince me he had been contracted by Stony Brook University to pick me up. I realised he was a crook when I was alone with him in the parking lot, so I thought I'd behave normally and lose the smallest amount of money possible, which ended up being $300. Truth to be said, all the other americans I met there were great blokes.
  65. We all go through hell every time we board an airplane thanks to bad actors. Perhaps the most valuable camera I own is a black Leica M6. Even though it is compact, it will never accompany me anywhere except one-day trips in my own vehicle. As an amateur, I am more interested in a record of my trips, than attempting to make great art (of which I am incapable). My Canon Powershot is perfectly fine for 95% of what I want to photograph, and its loss would not be tragic,
  66. Sorry to Alastair who had his D3 stolen over on the other thread. Having spoken to police today, they tell me that from the CCTV, of the two scumbags involved in my theft, they have made a photo print of one of them, the other was wearing a cap apparently, which in police terms I'm told is good because they have an identifiable face to circulate. The Metropolitan police may redeem themselves yet.

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