jmorani

Need help recovering a stolen camera

7 posts in this topic

Hope I am posting this in the right forum.

 

About a week ago, I had my camera stolen from inside my car. (I had left it in my car in anticipation of going out that evening for taking photos, and had accidentally left the car unlocked. The camera is a professional camera that cost me many thousands of dollars to buy, and even after 7 years of almost daily use, it has a market value of $1000 or more.)

 

I did two things immediately after I realized that my camera was gone: One, I filed a report with the police, I posted a message on a website called Nextdoor informing my community that my camera had been stolen. Nextdoor is a social networking website that connects you with members of your neighborhood. Soon, a neighbor responded saying he had seen it being offered for sale on an Internet bidding/selling website much like craigslist, called OfferUp. It was indeed my camera.

 

I went back to the Police Station, armed with the new information, hoping that this new information would be useful. But the response from the police dept was tepid. They said I couldn't conclusively prove ownership simply based on the picture of the camera online. Eventually, the detective in charge of the case agreed that there was overwhelming evidence in favor of the camera being mine, and he asked the DA’s office to serve a subpoena to OfferUp for information about the seller.

 

The evidence pointing to the camera being mine are:

1) The camea was posted on OfferUp roughly 12 hours after the camera went missing.

2) The person selling the camera lives in my neighborhood.

3) It was a Nikon D700, just like mine.

4)The lens on the camera was a 35mm Nikkor Prime lens just like mine. Photographer using prime lenses are few and far between, and the likelihood that this person used the same exact prime lens was even less likely.

5) The person was asking only $150, clearly didn’t know the value of the camera. Also there was no description of the camera on the item page, just a photo and the fact that it was used.

6) The camera/lens/lens hood together was the only items on sale, no other accessories, such as extra batteries or charge etc. that you’d expect if a photographer was selling his used equipment.

 

The detective was confident that he would be able to acquire a subpoena to serve to OfferUp. But the DA’s office responded and said they couldn’t issue a subpoena without 100% confirmation that the camera was mine. That seemed odd to me. If 100% confirmation is the condition for issuing a subpoena for a stolen item, most items that are stolen would never be recovered, right?

 

Earlier, the detective had contacted the company to give them a heads-up anticipating a subpoena. The company promptly took person’s 2 listings down. Now, I am dead in the water and don’t know what I can do at this point. I don’t imagine a lawsuit makes sense economically, even if I knew who to sue.

 

I am reaching out to you kind people in the hope you can give me some advice. Thank you for your help!

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offerup 03.PNG

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How about buying the camera and taking it to the police if it is yours.  If not, you have at least replaced it without paying full price.

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58 minutes ago, jmorani said:

The evidence pointing to the camera being mine are:

1) The camea was posted on OfferUp roughly 12 hours after the camera went missing.

2) The person selling the camera lives in my neighborhood.

3) It was a Nikon D700, just like mine.

4)The lens on the camera was a 35mm Nikkor Prime lens just like mine. Photographer using prime lenses are few and far between, and the likelihood that this person used the same exact prime lens was even less likely.

5) The person was asking only $150, clearly didn’t know the value of the camera. Also there was no description of the camera on the item page, just a photo and the fact that it was used.

6) The camera/lens/lens hood together was the only items on sale, no other accessories, such as extra batteries or charge etc. that you’d expect if a photographer was selling his used equipment.

 

Sorry, but that's not EVIDENCE at all. It's speculation based on potential coincidence. Not even close to enough evidence for a subpoena, warrant, or conviction.

 

EVIDENCE would be your records of the serial numbers of the camera and it's accessories. Do you have such records?

 

 

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33 minutes ago, doucar said:

How about buying the camera and taking it to the police if it is yours.  If not, you have at least replaced it without paying full price.

 

We did. Both the police dept and a friend of mine attempted to get in touch with the seller, to attempt to buy it back. The seller never responded. If I could have gotten my hands on the camera, it would be an easy task to conclusively identify the camera. I have both the Body and the Lens registered on the Nikon Website, so I know the serial #s. Of course, that's not an option any more since OfferUp has taken the listing down.

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42 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:

 

Sorry, but that's not EVIDENCE at all. It's speculation based on potential coincidence. Not even close to enough evidence for a subpoena, warrant, or conviction.

 

EVIDENCE would be your records of the serial numbers of the camera and it's accessories. Do you have such records?

 

Yes. I forgot to mention that in my original post. I have the serial numbers and registration information for both the body and the lens on the Nikon Website, a copy of which I also gave to the PD.

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4 hours ago, jmorani said:

Yes. I forgot to mention that in my original post. I have the serial numbers and registration information for both the body and the lens on the Nikon Website, a copy of which I also gave to the PD.

 

The guy will probably lay low for a while now that he's been spooked.

 

Keep an eye on Craiglist as the next likely place for it to turn up. Then just have somebody go buy it without making noise about subpoenas.

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On 2/3/2017 at 2:36 PM, jmorani said:

If 100% confirmation is the condition for issuing a subpoena for a stolen item, most items that are stolen would never be recovered, right?

 

While that's not the reason, most stolen items are not recovered.

 

 

On 2/3/2017 at 2:36 PM, jmorani said:

The evidence pointing to the camera being mine are

 

On 2/3/2017 at 3:39 PM, adjusterjack said:

Sorry, but that's not EVIDENCE at all.

 

Of course it's evidence, but I completely disagree that it's "overwhelming evidence."  The DA also apparently disagreed.  The thing about "100% confirmation" is silly, but the reality is that the web site in question is registered by proxy through an Arizona company, and the company that operates the site is based in Washington, and a subpoena issued by the Schenectady County, New York District Attorney would not be binding on that company.  While the DA probably could eventually obtain a subpoena that would be binding on the company, it would take a rather significant amount of time and effort that wouldn't be justified by the value of the item in question.

 

The only realistic chance of getting the camera back will be to keep trying to contact the seller (which would have been the far smarter thing for the police to do than to give the web site company a heads up about a possible subpoena).

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