Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Rangefinder Forum > Photography General Interest

Photography General Interest Neat Photo stuff NOT particularly about Rangefinders.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Camera thieves at work
Old 07-12-2013   #1
noisycheese
Normal(ish) Human
 
noisycheese is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,213
Exclamation Camera thieves at work

Here is a video from Photography Bay that bears watching.

A team of thieves in St. Petersburg have developed a method of stealing the lens off the camera that is literally hanging around their prey's neck. It is scary to see how bold and deft these thieves are:

http://www.photographybay.com/2013/0...Jh0Dzjwpdv62xu


What could the victim have done to prevent this theft? I have looked at this video clip repeatedly and come up with some thoughts and tactics that could have helped -

1: The victim was oblivious to the goings on in his personal space, which made this theft possible. BIG mistake. Situational Awareness and preventive action is critical to thwarting this type of theft.

2: When the group began to approach him, he should have grabbed his camera body with one hand and the lens with the other and backed away from them, saying in a loud voice, "No thank you, I am not interested" or words to that effect.

3: When the group moved to surround him, he should have began yelling loudly to attract attention to the thieves. "NO!! GET AWAY FROM ME!!" would have been a good attention getter.

4: Thieves do not want to have attention drawn to their nefarious acts. Thieves are looking for easy prey. The key is to be more trouble than you are worth; if you are, they will most likely disperse in search of an easy score.

5: As they closed the circle around him, he should have charged between them to break free, yelling "NO!! NO!! NO!!" (or words to that effect) and knocking them out of his way if need be while continuing to tightly grip his camera and lens.

6: The victim could not and should not have expected help from bystanders. The truth is that in a situation like this, you are on your own.

The take-aways from tis situation are as follows -
1: Always be aware of your surroundings.
2: Always be aware of people who are in your personal space (0 to 10 feet) and what they are doing.
3: Never allow a group of people to approach you with some sort of "sales pitch" (as the victim in the video did).
4: NEVER allow a group of people to surround you - even in a busy public area.

This is Monday morning quarterbacking, I will be the first to admit. Hindsight is always 20/20 vision. BUT: we have the luxury of watching the video, identifying the tactics used by the thieves and the mistakes made by the victim - and learning from them to avoid being victimized ourselves.

Be careful out there. There are sharks in the waters we swim, photographically speaking.
__________________
The Leica M passion: From the inside it's hard to explain; from the outside it's hard to understand.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-12-2013   #2
hepcat
Former PH, USN
 
hepcat's Avatar
 
hepcat is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Eastern Iowa
Age: 62
Posts: 1,268
That's pretty bold alright. Situational awareness is always the first step in ensuring your safety and the security of your goods.
__________________
Leicas and lenses

Find me on the web...
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-12-2013   #3
zauhar
Registered User
 
zauhar's Avatar
 
zauhar is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,094
Those guys are slick, thanks for posting the video and your good suggestions.

Given such a large, coordinated, and clearly determined group, I wonder if the photographer would have been successful even if he kept both hands on the lens? (That said, better to do something rather than nothing.)

Randy
__________________
Philadelphia, PA
Leica M3/50mm DR Summicron/21mm SuperAngulon/
90mm Elmarit
Canon 7/50mm f1.4
Leica IIIf/Summitar/Collapsible Summicron
Yashica Electro 35
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-12-2013   #4
David_Manning
Registered User
 
David_Manning's Avatar
 
David_Manning is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Aledo, Texas
Age: 51
Posts: 1,531
He was basically mugged, as opposed to pick-pocketed. Even if he caught them, I'm sure he would've been assaulted. They were pros, and they weren't going to get caught or arrested.

His only hope was to immediately make a ruckus...lots of noise.

Sad.
__________________
My Tumblr site
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-12-2013   #5
jsrockit
Moderator
 
jsrockit's Avatar
 
jsrockit is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NYC
Age: 43
Posts: 17,802
I find that perps are bold like this when the people that live in the area are scared of the perps or also hate the tourists in that area (therefore not caring what the perps do to strangers).

This is why it may be good to go to areas that are infamous with a few other people who can watch your back.
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-12-2013   #6
zauhar
Registered User
 
zauhar's Avatar
 
zauhar is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Manning View Post
He was basically mugged, as opposed to pick-pocketed. Even if he caught them, I'm sure he would've been assaulted. They were pros, and they weren't going to get caught or arrested.

His only hope was to immediately make a ruckus...lots of noise.

Sad.
He actually WAS assaulted in the course of this, receiving at least one hard shove.

I guess the stories I read/hear about the FSU being a lawless place may hold some truth.

(Not that something like this can't happen in the US or Europe.)

Randy
__________________
Philadelphia, PA
Leica M3/50mm DR Summicron/21mm SuperAngulon/
90mm Elmarit
Canon 7/50mm f1.4
Leica IIIf/Summitar/Collapsible Summicron
Yashica Electro 35
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-12-2013   #7
jonmanjiro
Moderator
 
jonmanjiro's Avatar
 
jonmanjiro is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Yokohama
Posts: 4,741
Only about two seconds between the thief taking the lens and the photographer noticing it missing, and he still lost it. Wow...
__________________
flickr
Instagram
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-12-2013   #8
KenR
Registered User
 
KenR is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 616
Of course the obvious question here is - who shot the video? Was this done by the thieves as part of their ongoing quality improvement seminar? Perhaps it was really done by the Police as part of a public awareness seminar with actors?
  Reply With Quote

Old 07-12-2013   #9
finguanzo
Registered User
 
finguanzo's Avatar
 
finguanzo is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: EWR
Posts: 854
The video was from a bus/car parked there.. It said it somewhere in the article, most cars there have dashboard cams, youtube russian car accidents, a lot of dashcam camera crashes....
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-04-2013   #10
pepeguitarra
Registered User
 
pepeguitarra's Avatar
 
pepeguitarra is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 669
Beware of Russia, specially the police. A friend of mine went there on business and was received at the airport by his business partner (a Russian). Outside of the airport, they were surrounded by about six children (gypsies) age 8-13. As soon as they got closer, the partner started kicking the boys very hard until they went away. My friend was surprised with this abusive behavior, but was explained that those kids were going to steal their pockets and luggage.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-05-2013   #11
k__43
Registered Film User
 
k__43's Avatar
 
k__43 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 934
My lesson would be to use a Zorki-4 in St.Petersburg
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2013   #12
shootar401
Unregistred User
 
shootar401 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: NYC
Posts: 50
As much I love going to Russia to visit, I stay far, far away from the cities and stick to the small towns. Not only are the people nicer but sometimes they invite you to their homes for a meal.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2013   #13
squareshooter
-
 
squareshooter is offline
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 226
Some people travel with valuable goods looking like a chicken ready to be plucked. I have worked with some of the top still photographers around and their gear normally looks like it is ready for the Goodwill Store. There is a reason for that -- just look at the video. You never want to look like a dumb tourist or like you have all kinds of great resale ready camera equipment on your person. Remember the saying, ''It is immoral to let suckers keep their money."
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2013   #14
Tony Whitney
Registered User
 
Tony Whitney is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 225
So how do you stop people surrounding you unless you're Jason Statham? It happened to me once in Florence - they didn't get my Leica and didn't seem interested in it, but they did find a couple of hundred bucks in my jeans pocket.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2013   #15
muser53
MUSER53
 
muser53 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: People's Republic of Berkeley
Posts: 353
Besides displaying some some street smarts (90%of the battle) which this guy obviously does not possess perhaps something as simple a tethering the lens (if it had a tripod collar to the camera itself would have changed the outcome.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2013   #16
35mmdelux
Fight On!
 
35mmdelux's Avatar
 
35mmdelux is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4,235
street rule #1: don't take expensive gear into desperate areas if you don't want to get shagged.
__________________
M-E │ 21 asph │ 35 asph │ 50 apo-classic │ 75 apo │ Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2013   #17
muser53
MUSER53
 
muser53 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: People's Republic of Berkeley
Posts: 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by 35mmdelux View Post
street rule #1: don't take expensive gear into desperate areas if you don't want to get shagged.
Bingo!
ten characters
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2013   #18
lynnb
Registered User
 
lynnb's Avatar
 
lynnb is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Sydney
Posts: 6,754
Good advice.

Sounds like a good reason to shoot LTM rather than bayonet mount.
__________________
Lynn
RFF Gallery
Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-08-2013   #19
kxl
Social Documentary
 
kxl's Avatar
 
kxl is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sunny SoCal
Posts: 2,727
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Whitney View Post
So how do you stop people surrounding you unless you're Jason Statham? It happened to me once in Florence - they didn't get my Leica and didn't seem interested in it, but they did find a couple of hundred bucks in my jeans pocket.
No guarantee but:

1) Act crazy and start screaming "POLICE" in the local language.

2) Bring a whistle and use it.

3) Air horn.

I don't think the above would have helped in this case since they seemed determined and they outnumbered him. It WAS a robbery not theft. NO telling what kind of harm they could have done to him if he tried to fight.
__________________
Keith
My website
RFF feedback


"... I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet - to see the innocence.” ― Sebastiao Salgado
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-09-2013   #20
Boris Stupak
-
 
Boris Stupak is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 312
The victim is an imbecile.

A gigantic zoom and expensive camera around his neck. A bright orange "sucker" jacket. And an enormous backpack which marks you as a goon.

I'm not sure, but I think they grabbed something out of his backpack as well.

If you want to make yourself a target, you have to expect this kind of trouble.

I would never have displayed that camera in an unfamiliar place, and I would not dress like a clueless tourist.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-09-2013   #21
colyn
ישו משיח בנו של אלוהים
 
colyn's Avatar
 
colyn is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: CowTown, Texas
Age: 63
Posts: 4,467
The one thing that bothers me about this video is it looks staged and if it is real why did they not take the camera too. They could have easily done so just by the number of their ranks..

A camera/lens combo is worth more than just a lens..

Besides that, why would the thieves let their faces be shown and posted on youtube???
__________________
Colyn

The Lone Star State....

Leica M2 | M3 x 2 | IIIa x 2 | IIIc | IIIf black dial | Kodak Retina IIIc | Kodak Retina IIIC |


Flickr

My website

My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-11-2013   #22
Holmz
Registered User
 
Holmz is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Antipodes/Central
Posts: 81
I have heard a few stories like this since we just booked a cruise to St Petersburg.
Now I am wondering if I should bring the M8 with the 28-mm on it or just pass.
Or start twirling it around by the strap like Bruce Lee if/when I sense danger?

Looking for some advice...
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-11-2013   #23
Highway 61
Revisited
 
Highway 61's Avatar
 
Highway 61 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Whitney View Post
So how do you stop people surrounding you unless you're Jason Statham? It happened to me once in Florence - they didn't get my Leica and didn't seem interested in it, but they did find a couple of hundred bucks in my jeans pocket.
Good point. It happened to me once in Prague while I had stopped on Saint-Nicolas' stairs to cure something on one of my feet. The place was empty but as soon as I rested myself down and took one shoe off, about six or seven young Russians surrounded me - and that was not fun.

I screamed and they left without assaulting me (and my belongings) eventually - much luck for me then.

That was the only time this happened to me, but I learnt the lesson (I'm sure those guys had been following me for a while, just waiting for the good opportunity to try to take my bag off).

Recently in Paris I met a very friendly guy coming from the New Orleans who told me he hadn't dared bringing his Leica M9 with him into France for the fear of being stolen. I told him that this was quite an exaggerated hoax. Fortunately you still can walk in Paris without being stolen (of course don't go to Montmartre inside the young Gypsies crowd with money in your pockets or valuable things around your neck or shoulder).

Quite often, people looking like the perfect rubes get stolen in very touristic places where there is nothing really interesting to see or photograph (because of the excessive touristic aspect of the place)...

As for disguising expensive photo gear into pieces of junk using black masking tape and the like, I'm not convinced at all : thieves do know the trick...

So, yes, the best advice remains : small bag not looking like a photo bag (if possible) ; casual clothes, with no flashy colors ; no backbag ; wrist strap (or neck strap twisted around your wrist) ; walk quickly ; don't stay for too long w/o walking ; never let people coming too close to you and change directions very often.

But there isn't any magic recipe...

Edit : grasp your belongings very firmly and move away PDQ as soon as you meet people :

- coming playing soccer around you
- showing you something they pretend to be funny
- carrying newspapers while being obviously unable to read
- asking you something OT (e.g., you're sitting at a café terrace and some people come by and ask *you* to help them to do something, whatsoever)

Etc.
__________________

  Reply With Quote

Old 08-11-2013   #24
Addy101
Registered User
 
Addy101 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,523
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holmz View Post
I have heard a few stories like this since we just booked a cruise to St Petersburg.
Now I am wondering if I should bring the M8 with the 28-mm on it or just pass.
Or start twirling it around by the strap like Bruce Lee if/when I sense danger?

Looking for some advice...
Most people don't have this experience. There is danger everywhere, don't let it stop you living your live, as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: we have to fear nothing, but fear itself
Just like in NYC you have to be aware of your surroundings and you might want to avoid some situations. To summarise, don't be stupid

Bring your M8 with 28mm and enjoy your trip.
__________________
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-11-2013   #25
ChrisPlatt
Thread Killer
 
ChrisPlatt's Avatar
 
ChrisPlatt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Queens NYC
Age: 56
Posts: 2,344
A good truly pocketable camera is a great alternative for travel photography.

Chris
__________________
Bring back the latent image!
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-11-2013   #26
Rogier
Rogier Willems
 
Rogier's Avatar
 
Rogier is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 1,185
Start taking pictured of their faces rather then trying to push back...
__________________
Smiles across the wires,


Rogier Willems


http://www.flickr.com/photos/rogierwillems/

http://www.scooter-it.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-04-2014   #27
FalseDigital
krapow moo khai dow
 
FalseDigital's Avatar
 
FalseDigital is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 509
I have seen so many tourists on the skytrain in Bangkok with easily accessible valuables. I remember specifically one guy had about 3,000 baht (about $100 USD) showing through the thin fabric on his front shirt pocket. I kept staring at it and his stereotypical "I don't know where I am" look he had on his face. Eventually, I told him before leaving the train. "I could have easily stolen your money, you might want to put that in a safer place." To which he was shocked and actually put it away.

But I can BET you it would have been stolen by someone if I hadn't said something. I've seen the same thing with big backpacks on crowded trains around here. You have to be aware of your belongings and surroundings. I think Bangkok is a pretty safe place but it's easy to spot "helpless" targets from a mile away.
__________________
Analog Tumblr /// Fuji X Street Tumblr
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-04-2014   #28
crosseyed-cricket
Registered User
 
crosseyed-cricket is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 113
Take out an insurance rider for your camera gear on your homeowners insurance. For me, I got $5000 worth of coverage for $75 per year with no deductible.

Then, be sensible and discreet and enjoy your trip. I would hate to lose my camera, but I try to remind myself that it is meant to be used and shouldn't be the focus of my trip whether I'm backpacking in the mountains, or walking the streets of the city.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-04-2014   #29
Rodchenko
Olympian
 
Rodchenko's Avatar
 
Rodchenko is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Exiled from Hyperborea
Posts: 3,006
I need to check if my home insurance covers cameras when out and about. Mind you, most would cost less to replace than a £50 excess.
__________________
Auspicious Light on Mount Takachiho
E-PL1
35SP





  Reply With Quote

Old 03-04-2014   #30
Nikos72
Registered User
 
Nikos72's Avatar
 
Nikos72 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Athens, Greece
Age: 44
Posts: 1,048
Now you know why I carry that non working Zenit with me with no film in it...
(should I super glue that Jupiter-21 to it for extra power?)
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-04-2014   #31
crosseyed-cricket
Registered User
 
crosseyed-cricket is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodchenko View Post
I need to check if my home insurance covers cameras when out and about. Mind you, most would cost less to replace than a £50 excess.
At least in the US, I think that most homeowner policies do provide coverage for your belongings away from home...the caveat is that the deductible may be 10% of your home value and may be too high to be of any real use. Adding the rider reduces the deductible to nothing and may cover loss, damage, etc. as well.

I don't carry any single piece of gear worth that much, but I may travel with a couple of bodies and several lenses to switch out based on the day's activity...and it covers my gear even when stored at home.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-04-2014   #32
CliveC
Registered User
 
CliveC is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Toronto, Canada
Age: 34
Posts: 658
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
Now you know why I carry that non working Zenit with me with no film in it...
(should I super glue that Jupiter-21 to it for extra power?)
Although if you wield it, it could be considered assault with a deadly weapon.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-04-2014   #33
Ronald M
Registered User
 
Ronald M is online now
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4,031
Unless you are with a group, stay away from dodgy areas.

Russia is a lawless place including those in charge. Don`t go there. Even business people have had large businesses confiscated that they built from scratch. Then the lawyer who was trying to retrieve it was murdered.

Police and government officials live homes 1000x their annual pay. Ho do ya suppose this happens?

Carry small amounts of money and give it up easily. Also some expired credit cards.
The real money needs to be hidden inside clothing.

As the economy gets worse, there will be more and more of this. When people get street smart, home invasion will be next. You have more leeway for defense here, but still there are local laws.

I bought some Leica lenses in Chicago and the dealer packed them in a lime green gift bag for the trip home. I walked with the valuable side next to the buildings , not the street. This provides less of a free rein for grab and run. Keep watching for those who might be following you waiting for opportunity.

When accosted, give it up fast. Unless you are trained and in practice and know local law, no weapon is going to help. Not saying you should not carry, but use discretion. Generally speaking, only use force if your life is in danger and you can prove it.

Foreign countries have laws we would not consider fair in the USA. Just look at the student who was tried for murder three times and there is no credible evidence she did anything. Now they are trying to extradite he back for another trial. Her family spent the retirement funds trying to protect her. States have infinite power compared to individual people unless you are very very rich. If Italy can not get her legally, they might try kidnapping. The Israelis did that more than once picking up hiding Nazis after WW2. That poor student will be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life and she is no match for pros.
  Reply With Quote

Old 03-04-2014   #34
crosseyed-cricket
Registered User
 
crosseyed-cricket is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 113
A few other things I've done that (I think) have helped me in the past....

1. Carry a local newspaper
2. If I'm going to be somewhere for awhile, I buy and wear a cheap pair of pants and shirt in the local brands....Levi's and Nike scream American tourist.
3. A monopod or umbrella can extend your personal space...if someone is too close...swing it their way 'by accident'...'mi scusi!'
4. Do something unexpected...my appearance is obviously American, but when approached in Italy, I responded 'go away' or 'I don't speak English' in Russian.
5. If I carry a camera bag, I try to use a beat-up messenger bag..or anything but a black camera backpack.
6. Gaffers tape works well to cover logos, but put some worn silver duct tape on top of that to help with the 'beat up and barely working' look.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:33.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.