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News & Insight

Caught on Video: Thief Steals $6,000 Worth of Camera Equipment During Wedding Ceremony

By fotosiamo on September 4th 2013

As a photographer, one of the worst things that can happen is to have someone steal your photography gear. For wedding photographer Martin Gregorian from Butterfly Photography, that is unfortunately what happened to him during a wedding ceremony in Vancouver, Canada.


During their wedding at Ferguson Point in Stanley Park, Bryan Ball and and his fiancé Julie Wilson’s noticed a stranger dressed in light blue shirt and shorts walking around and mingling with their guests. He was there for around 20-30 minutes before he disappeared.

After the ceremony was over, Martin Gregorian noticed that his Pelican case containing $6,000 worth of camera equipment went missing, and despite having help from the wedding guests, he was not able to find the missing case.

Luckily for Martin and the newlyweds, the wedding videographer managed to catch the thief in the act of stealing the Pelican case. You can see him in the very beginning of the video and at the 5:30 mark where he bent down to pick up the case and walked away with it.

Constable Brian Montague of Vancouver Police noted that the thief waited around for the right moment and “is most likely a professional.”

For more information, you can read the news article from Global News.

Sound Off!

Whether it is a wedding or an on location fashion shoot, keeping track of your gear should always be one of your top priorities. The best way to protect yourself from theft is to have your gear with you or within your line of sight at all times. If that is not possible, having it at a secure location like a dedicated room or car trunk is the next best option. To learn more tips , be sure to check out our article on how to Keep Your Camera Safe from Theft. You can also use GPS tags or similar tags such as the Tile to help you find your gear in the event it was stolen.

So how do you keep your gear safe from theft? Have you ever been a victim of theft during a shoot?

UPDATE: The camera thief suspect has been arrested! .Read more about it here

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Joe is a fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Glad they caught him

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  2. Jean

    It is regretable that this happened to the photographer in question, but you never, EVER leave gear un-attended. Especially not at an outdoor, public event. I have insurance for my gear, always have an assistant and as other have said: if you can’t carry it on your person, leave it locked up in the trunk of your car.

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  3. Timothy

    I have a large Pelican rolling case, the iM3075. I got it with no foam inside and it’s large enough to put in my Think Tank airport security rolling case, a couple smaller bags and my laptop. I have yet to be somewhere that I was not able to lock it up with the heavy duty cable.
    Yes, someone could still steal it, but they are going to make a lot of noise doing it, or it’s going to take too much time. I got the case used for only $95 at an electronic surplus store. They had 2, I regret that I did not buy both!

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  5. Mary

    A little off topic…I’ve been told it’s not a good idea to leave camera gear in a car or trunk due to the heat build up and the damage it can do to the lubricants used in lens. It’s also not good for sensitive electronics. Thoughts?

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    • Jean

      Leaving gear in a hot trunk/location for extended periods of time is never a good idea, but if the alternative is getting the gear stolen…I’ll take the hot trunk every time.

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  6. Randeyeman

    Funny how most daily shooting photogs spend THOUSANDS on the equipment that earns them a living, but won’t spend LESS THAN $100 on equipment security devices. I’ve been using a SECU4Bags alarm system in my equipment cases. This device will sound a 100 decibel alarm if my equipment gets more than 30 meters from me and alerts my iPhone via bluetooth. It comes with a remote to turn off the alarm from a distance. I also have a GPS tag stashed in a hidden compartment in my bags/cases that allows my to track my equipment (again using my iPhone) if it does get away from me. All this piece of mind cost me LESS than $100!!!

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    • Mike M

      The SECU4Bags seems to have some bad reviews, have you tested it and used it for awhile? Also, what GPS tags are you using? The idea is a good one, I’m just not too sure about the product. I have used a Targus Defcon, until one failed while on vacation. It just started sounding off the alarm and the combination would not work. Others have reported this same failure. They keep introducing new ones and I’m tempted to try them again.

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  7. Mike M

    It appears they caught the thief, but have not recovered the lenses. They let him out of jail with a promise to appear! A thief’s promise and yet the lenses were not recovered. He should be rotting in a cell, at least until the lenses are recovered.

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  8. Schmitty

    I had all my gear stolen on a destination wedding In Hawaii from a locked trunk in my rental car the day before the wedding. I ran into the grocery store for 5 minutes when it happened!

    I had a witness tell me who stole it,but said they wouldn’t tell the cops and ran off. I told the cops the name and they told me to forget about it. I was shocked! I said what do you mean? They said the person I mentioned runs the tightest gang in Oahu and there’s no way to get it back.

    Lucky for me it was Hawaii and not a third world country. I managed to purchase all new gear that night from the local camera shop and filed a claim with my insurance company. Having good insurance is a must.

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  9. R Woods

    Canon 50D, 40D, Sony a700, and Canon xl1 all stolen it off my wife’s truck while security was in the lot. I sympathize with those of you that have been robbed. I didn’t have insurance. Just now putting things back together. I take an assistant to every shoot now.

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  10. Mike

    I had a similar experience at the Stockholm bus terminal. When boarding a bus, I loaded my Gura Gear Kiboko in the undercarriage on the far side of the bus and got in line. As I watched others loading their luggage, I saw a guy pick up my bag, sling it over his shoulder and walk away with his partner. I sprinted around the bus, practically tackled the guy and ripped it off his shoulder. They ran away, obviously, but luckily they didn’t get anything, as it was the first day of a 3 month trip of teaching photography workshops and taking photos for my MA thesis. Always be paranoid!

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  11. pexhidopholus

    Find. Him.

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  12. Pixyst

    Often thieves have absolutely no compassion and give no thought for the amount of damage they cause. That is why is some places they receive no mercy when caught.

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  13. Dave

    This takes a special kind of scumbag to walk off with someones livelihood. Insurance takes care of it but still… What a shame. Hope they catch this knucklehead!!!

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  14. Norman

    What a low life! I know the panic that would have gone through Martin when he realised it was gone. Another lowlife recently took $18,000.00 worth of equipment from the back of my car just after a wedding that I had shot. Fortunately I had removed the memory cards and my insurance came good, but it still hurts.

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  15. Terry Clark

    And some people thought I was crazy for keeping another entire camera outfit in my car as an emergency back up. It’s not the exact duplicate, the lenses might be a stop slower, the bodies not as high end, but it’s enough to get me through any assignment if necessary.

    I’ve always operated on the premise of “what if something happens.” Luckily, so far, I’ve never needed the back up kit, but it’s there.

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  16. Greg

    @Dave. I’m using an iMac and Safari and it looks perfectly fine for me.

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  17. Dave

    FYI SLR lounge your website does not render correctly in Safari on a Mac. It’s a complete mess.

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    • Christopher

      we’ve been having some site issues lately, but it should display find if you reload… thanks and please let us know if you see the problem persist

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  18. Laura Ryan

    And this is why I have assistant stand next to my gear all day long

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    • Trenton Meador

      Same here laura. Even in the studio I always have someone looking out for things. I can’t have eyes on my work and on everything else at the same time.

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  19. Albert

    Wow, if he is a professional he sure has picked a target that makes im a total scum bag. I pay for insurance for just these types of circumstances. Damn shame, damn shame…

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  20. Kacey B

    Ugh. I can’t imagine the panic he felt. It is bad enough to have your gear stolen. But during a shoot when you might need it?! There’s no “retakes” on weddings.

    The horror of not having your gear with you during a shoot aside, I hope he had insurance. ALL pros should have gear insurance in addition to their liability insurance. You’d be a fool not too.

    When shooting a wedding, especially outdoors in a public place, my philosophy is simple. If you can’t carry it on your person, it needs to stay locked in the trunk of your car. Don’t bring bags that scream, “expensive camera gear” and leave them around. Over the years I’ve perfected the schleping of gear (which includes 2 bodies, multiple lenses, modifiers, flashes and reflectors). I really look like a sherpa while I work, but I feel better knowing it’s with me. Over time I’ve just learned to become nimble with pounds, and pounds of gear hanging from me. :o)

    I’d rather carry what I need, than leave a bag of gear tucked away…even if it is within sight. It is too easy for someone to grab it in a second.

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