Photographer Gary Fraley recently recovered his stolen gear via 500px thanks to Lenstag. Fraley, who runs a nonprofit which aims to use art to help end hunger, had his house broken into late last year and his camera equipment stolen.
He received an alert from Lenstag saying that his stolen camera had been used to take a picture posted on 500px.com. He jotted down the photographer's information that was on 500px and called the police.They went over to the thief's house and got Fraley's Nikon D300s, a 50mm lens, an 18-55mm lens, an SB-700 flash, and the battery grip back. Lenstag founder Trevor Sehrer explained, "The guy who had obtained the stolen gear said that his cousin had stolen it and right now police are looking for him."
The Lenstag project was started last year after Sehrer had heard too many stories about gear getting stolen.
"Before Lenstag, cameras, lenses, video gear were like diamonds. You can find one, steal one, and just sell it without recourse. Now things are starting to change and hopefully camera gear can be treated a little more like cars in that folks will check to see if it's stolen before they even buy it. Especially now that it's been proven that the police can, and will, use it to recover stolen gear."
Sehrer finished by saying that he intends to keep the anti-theft service free forever. He knows that it's a long-term project and it's working because thieves are hating it. "Thieves are clearly having a harder time selling their stolen goods and they're letting me know about it with threats, 'registering' middle fingers - all kinds of crap like that."
Photo and video equipment theft won't stop overnight but if everyone checks Lenstag before they buy a used item the ability for thieves to resell stolen gear would end. Help win the war against photo and video equipment theft and add your gear on Lenstag.com or download Lenstag from the App Store or Google Play. Use Google Chrome? Install the totally anonymous Google Chrome browser extension, Lenstag Rescue - it's what enabled the Fraley to fine a photo taken with his stolen camera. Find out more about Fraley's nonprofit here.
Stay tuned for Lenstag's 2014 theft statistics infographic, which will be published exclusively here on Fstoppers.