Photographer Busts Thief Who Tried to Sell Stolen Camera on Craigslist

Maybe it was the middle of the night; maybe during the day. They broke into your home. They slipped into your apartment complex's "secure garage." And chances are you will never see your personal property again.

Unless you fight back with persistence, diligence, and a few helpful friends.

Living in a city like Los Angeles where bike thievery is terribly common, I enjoy watching YouTube videos (NSFW language), or reading blogs, about every day citizens standing up against criminals to reclaim their stolen rides. These pieces give us all hope that, in a similar situation, we too could win the day.

As photographers of all levels, Steve's Digicams Readers know our passion/hobby/profession is an expensive one. Cameras bodies, multiple lenses, memory cards, batteries, bags -- it all adds up. Can you imagine what it would be like to lose your point-and-shoot, EVIL, or DSLR camera? Knowing that it was out there and likely to be sold?

You have been robbed.

One fellow enthusiast, Jeff Hu, recently woke up after throwing a party to discover his prized Canon T2i missing. Stolen by a friend-of-a-friend (of-a-friend), there was nothing to do except file a police report... until Jeff found his camera for sale on Craigslist.

Jeff first posted his story on Reddit, seeking advice, then asked a few friends to help set up a sting operation. Jeff created a fake email address and contacted the Thief while his buddies did the same in hopes the Thief would sell to one of them should he become nervous about Jeff's inquiry. The Thief's email lead Jeff to an active (and thankfully not private) Facebook account where Jeff recognized the man from his party.

For his plan to work, Jeff needed to prove he owned this specific T2i, but unfortunately, he didn't have his serial number. Luckily, Jeff found and used Stolen Camera Finder to retrieve the metadata from his photos. Evidence in hand, Jeff's two buds staked out the coffee shop meeting place, and Jeff went to the local police department, who kindly provided two undercover officers that, when the Thief arrived on time and ready to sell, arrested the scoundrel.

To read the whole story in Jeff's words, head over to Peta Pixel. And don't miss out on Mr. Hu's photography via his Flickr account, which would definitely win a few Photo of the Day contests here or on our Facebook.