The Camera Store (TCS), one of the most popular camera, lens, and photography equipment retailers in western Canada, suffered a break-in this morning, May 3, and over $30,000 worth of Sony, Nikon, and DJI equipment was stolen.
TCS, which operates the popular YouTube Channel called TheCameraStoreTV and which is where PetaPixel‘s Chris Niccolls and Jordan Drake got their start, shared some information regarding the break-in on its blog.
According to surveillance footage which can be seen above, two individuals broke into the store at around 5:00 AM on Wednesday, May 3, and smashed display cases to access a wide range of equipment that they then stuffed into what appear to be shoulder or tote bags. The two suspects, which TCS says look to be a male and a female, can be seen grabbing whatever they can as the alarm sounds in the background.
The two, who wore dark clothing, hoods, and masks during the robbery, remain at large and TCS urges anyone with information on the theft to call the police (403-266-1234) and reference the police case number CA23182932. Those that wish to submit tips but remain anonymous can call crime stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
“Theft has a considerable impact on small companies like ours. We are extremely thankful for the unwavering backing of the photographic community now, just as we were in 2017 when Leica and Hasselblad gear was taken and later recovered by the Calgary Police Service,” The Camera Store tells PetaPixel.
“We are working with the local police to investigate the crime. The Camera Store is offering a $5,000 shopping spree reward for information that leads to a charged conviction.”
Camera Equipment Continues to be a Major Target for Theft
Camera equipment remains one of the highest priority targets for theft as the equipment is difficult, if not impossible, to track and is therefore easy to sell. Photographers are targeted by thieves regularly who will either break into cars to steal camera bags or even steal cameras directly off the shoulders of tourists.
There have been multiple documented attacks on photographers who had their equipment stolen from them, some at gunpoint, in broad daylight over the past couple of years. A wedding photographer was attacked by gun-wielding thieves at the Palace of Fine Arts. Last March, a camera crew was robbed of $35,000 in gear at gunpoint in the middle of the day near the Golden Gate Bridge. Photographers were robbed while stuck in traffic, a photographer was shot by robbers after refusing to give up her camera, and last October a photographer was followed home and robbed of his gear at gunpoint after photographing the Golden Gate bridge.
The Leica Store in Union Square was robbed of $178,000 in camera equipment last year, and thieves also caused $20,000 in damage during their three-minute smash-and-grab.
While those attacks mainly took place in San Francisco, the trend is not limited to the city by the bay. Last year, Mike’s Cameras was robbed in a smash-and-grab of equipment. Five men broke into the building as the shop opened at 10 AM and, at gunpoint, stole equipment off shelves and out of display cases. Mike’s Cameras estimated the total value of stolen items to be around $80,000.
There have been calls for camera companies to find some way to increase the security of photographers by implementing modern methods of making cameras a less easy target. To date, however, none have provided a solution.