Stolen gear is a plague that will never go away and a serious problem for those of us in the photography and videography world.
Particularly there are two victims: People who have their gear stolen and the people who buy it and then find out it is stolen.
A lot of stories often focus on the thieves that steal things and how they either get away with it or are caught somehow.
But rarely does a story focus on the people who sell stolen gear. These people, who may or may not know they are dealing in stolen gear, are also a part of the problem. While someone can plead ignorance to a point, if you are getting something expensive at a serious discount, then you are probably participating in something shady. This is just a rule of life.
FOX 2 in Detroit did a local piece on just these people who vend stolen equipment. Called fences, these sellers help facilitate the process of making stolen camera equipment profitable. Not every thief will use a fence, but smart ones often will to avoid having the item tied back to them.
Local photographer Rob Wolchek had his gear stolen, a Nikon DSLR camera, and was lucky enough to find it for sale on eBay. He bought his own camera back and checked to make sure that everything matched up. Of course, it did. Later, he then repurchased his flash from the same camera from a seller on eBay named Ali.
Here is where the story becomes interesting.
Rob apparently stalked Ali or what PetaPixel calls “followed him around” and discovered Ali buying discounted electronics at local gas stations and other places. These items would later be sold by Ali’s eBay account.
Wolchek then confronted Ali who said he didn’t know the items were stolen. Ultimately the police weren’t involved but the whole thing was all over local news.
Have you ever had your gear stolen? Did you get it back? Tell us your story in the comments.