Last month, the guys at PetaPixel reported the first successful recovery of stolen gear due to the service Lenstag. In related and more recent news, this past weekend a pawn shop in Boston, Massachusetts did a little detective work of their own to recover a stolen Nikon D3100.
According to WCVB, ABC news affiliate, this weekend a man tried to sell a stolen Nikon D3100 at Empire Pawn in Boston. The store owner, very familiar in vetting potential sellers, noted the seller's apparent lack of knowledge about the camera. It turns out the camera was lost by the owners on the Red Line and was stolen by an opportunist looking to make a quick buck. A search of Craigslist found an ad from the family who had lost the camera. According to the video found on the original post, the family has since been in contact with Empire Pawn and will likely be able to recover their camera and photos soon.
Check out the original article and video here.
In this industry you can't always count on buyers being so concerned with the legitimacy of the seller of photo gear. This could have just as easily been purchased and sold without the knowledge of the original owner. It's extremely important to protect our photo gear investment, and Lenstag is a great — free — option.
If you're unaware, Lenstag is a free website that allows users to store their camera equipment (bodies, lenses, computers, accessories) serial numbers to keep track of equipment, deter theft, and prevent users from buying stolen equipment. While this particular recovery didn't have anything to do with the service it's a friendly reminder to get yourself signed up.
As of today, Lenstag now actively searches photos online for the serial numbers of stolen cameras and lenses. In a press release sent out via email today, Trevor Sehrer, Lenstag founder, says:
I'm writing to let you know that we've launched a new feature to fight image theft by extending the benefits of Lenstag Rescue to all users with verified digital cameras, not just users with cameras flagged as stolen.
It works like this: if you have at least one verified digital camera, you'll now get notifications via email and within Lenstag if Lenstag Rescue comes across an image with metadata containing your camera's serial number and model name. If someone copies your image from your portfolio to their blog or their portfolio, for example, it can be detected and you can be notified.
The email notifications are limited to once per day and only get sent when something new is discovered, so you don't have to worry about getting spammed. If you wish to disable the email notifications, you can sign into lenstag.com, click on Settings and then click the 'Disable' button under 'Disable Lenstag Rescue Notifications'.
Lastly, I'd like to thank all of the anonymous heroes and heroines that use the Lenstag Rescue Chrome extension to fight camera and now image theft. Without your help, we would not have been able to launch this feature.
Thank you for using Lenstag and, as always, if you have any feedback, questions, comments or concerns, just hit reply and write me back.