Video: A camera thief in action

This is the horrible moment where thousands of dollars worth of photo equipment goes walkies

So, you've had a long day of doing a photo shoot. What do you do next? If you're a typical photographer, the next step would be to head to the nearest pub for a couple of after-shoot bevvies.

So, apart from swearing like a trooper and crying like a little girl, what would you do if your bag, containing a Canon 5D Mk II, a  24-70 f/2.8, a 50mm f/1.2, and a 16-35 f/2.8 were stolen? Because that's what happened to my friend Andy's friend.

They even have footage of the actual theft:


The actual theft happens at 1:14 in this video. It's worth pointing out that this thief is not actually very good (although it does look like he got away with it): He's spending time scouting around and looking shifty. I've seen CCTV footage of real professionals at work: They'll send in one person to scout for potential loot, and then another person will swoop in, someone will cause a brief distraction ("Sorry, mate, can I just get to the bar?" or "Excuse me, do you know what time it is" - or simply drop a pint of beer somewhere else in the pub), whilst their accomplice walks up, grabs the bag, and walks off. It's over within seconds, and usually it happens so quickly that even a trained CCTV operator will be struggling to see exactly what happened.

It's easy to say 'don't take your equipment into a pub, then', but the truth is that in London, most of us don't have offices or cars to store our stuff in. So: If you do carry your equipment around, keep an extra-close eye on it; it's too easy for someone to just casually walk up, grab it, and saunter off with your photography gear.

Oh, and another tip: Protect your lenses, because thieves have been known to nick them straight off your camera...