In November, a report released by the FBI labeled Oakland, CA as the nation’s leading city in terms of robberies. According to ABC News, on average, there is one robbery for every 82 residents and as the state’s third largest city with approximately 390,000+ residents, that’s quite a few robberies that are reported. (And the Oakland crime rate has reportedly lowered significantly in recent years).

Photo Credit: Brandon Anderson/Creative Commons

This weekend, shortly after exchanging vows, a bride and groom asked their wedding photographers to do a quick photo shoot at Oakland High School, where they first met. The photographers, Helene Paz and her husband and three male videographers were wrapping up the photo shoot with the newlyweds and their two flower girls around 4:30pm on Saturday, when three men approached them with a gun in the parking lot. Paz, typically a maternity and portrait photographer, was the lead shooter and this was her first wedding.

The men held a gun to Paz’s head and demanded all of their equipment, totaling about $13,000-$14,000 and the contents of the victim’s pockets, including an iPhone, which was later recovered in a car  linked to the crime. None of the camera equipment has been recovered.

Paz and her husband’s cameras were insured, but the videographers’ equipment was not. Of course, everyone is hoping that, for the bride and groom’s sake, the only thing that cannot be replaced, the photos from the day will be recovered.

“I’m hoping people may know something … that we’ll actually get the pictures back,” Paz said Mercury News. “That’s all we really care about for the bride and groom.

UPDATED TO ADD: The photographers have set up an Indigogo campaign to recoup some of the equipment lost in the theft and cover some of the insurance deductibles. You can donate here.


There really isn’t anything you can do to fully prevent becoming a victim of violence. There are safety precautions you can take while shooting, and we give some tips on that in this article: PHOTOGRAPHER ATTACKED, BEATEN, AND ROBBED DURING WEDDING | 5 TIPS TO STAY SAFE. Always remember that nothing is worth your life and the lives of your clients, not even irreplaceable photographs.

There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects in this case. Anyone with information may call the Oakland police at 510-238-3326 or 510-238-3426 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.

[Via Mercury News]