Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist Locked

Started Jul 16, 2013 | Discussions
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Riki
Senior MemberPosts: 1,477Gear list
Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
Jul 16, 2013

Guys this is a must watch video for anyone planning a holiday anywhere in East Europe or Russia. This is an identical MO carried out in Prague, Warsaw and sometimes they are not afraid to walk right upto you and cut the camera strap and snatch it out of your hands. I have seen so many such cases, please watch and be careful always, hope this helps. Thanks

http://youtu.be/4YWaloz-Duw

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systemguy
Contributing MemberPosts: 748Gear list
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to Riki, Jul 16, 2013

That is what I am afraid of....so I am hoping that the backpack that I have that cannot be accessed form the back will help.

Isn't this exactly what hyenas do in the wild?

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Riki
Senior MemberPosts: 1,477Gear list
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to systemguy, Jul 16, 2013

systemguy wrote:

That is what I am afraid of....so I am hoping that the backpack that I have that cannot be accessed form the back will help.

Isn't this exactly what hyenas do in the wild?

Thieving happens everywhere, one just has to be careful and not put one's guard down at any time, period.

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gDaniel
Regular MemberPosts: 167Gear list
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to Riki, Jul 16, 2013

Riki wrote:

Guys this is a must watch video for anyone planning a holiday anywhere in East Europe or Russia. This is an identical MO carried out in Prague, Warsaw and sometimes they are not afraid to walk right upto you and cut the camera strap and snatch it out of your hands.

i don't want to offend anyone, but Prague "is" not Russia. For the last 4 years i am shooting alone, day and night in Prague, and in all parts of the city without any issue. More so, i am a foreigner and don't speak local language. Police is everywhere, especially in tourist packed places.

If you leave your gear unattended...that's a different story.

I have a friend who was robbed in St Petersburg, but we had no issues in Warsaw/Cracow, even after many many drinks

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RickD
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Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to Riki, Jul 16, 2013

Thank you for posting this. I had heard of teams of two doing this (one to distract, one to release and grab the lens) and told myself to always keep a hand on my camera lens, particularly in crowds or if approached unexpectedly.  I'm a pretty big guy, so I thought this would cover most situations, so this video was an eye opener for me:

  • There were (at least) six thieves in the gang.  Nobody wins a 6 on 1.
  • They converged quickly on the victim and had him isolated and surrounded in seconds.
  • The lens was off the camera and in possession of one of the thieves before the victim even realized he was being mugged.
  • Once they had the lens it was pretty much game over.  There was a well rehearsed plan to hide the lens from the victim (notice how the big guy kept between the victim and the thief making off with the lens), and disperse quickly. 

Based on this, I'll now be even more careful about going to high risk locations alone; and about making myself a target by carrying an expensive camera/lens around my neck in plain sight.

Thanks again for the reminder.  There is a good chance you saved somebody a very bad experience.

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RickD

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fft81
Contributing MemberPosts: 896
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to systemguy, Jul 16, 2013

systemguy wrote:

That is what I am afraid of....so I am hoping that the backpack that I have that cannot be accessed form the back will help.

Isn't this exactly what hyenas do in the wild?

It is rather easy to cut the shoulder straps and just grab your backpack...

systemguy
Contributing MemberPosts: 748Gear list
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to fft81, Jul 16, 2013

NOT the same thing....you cannot equate camera straps with those of a backpack - 2 different things and two different actions to do......think about it.

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leicaman
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,638
Beware metal renforced straps. They could get you killed.
In reply to Riki, Jul 16, 2013

One popular MO is for thieves on motorbikes and scooters to zoom by a target on a sidewalk and grab a purse or camera by the strap.  The straps break and they make their escape.  A friend had her purse snatched just the same way... but the strap did not give easily.  She was in the hospital for a month after being dragged.

A camera strap might easily decapitate you or break your neck,  Better to lose the equipment.

This Russian crew really knew their stuff.  Very well timed,,,  At least the hapless fellow was not injured.

One a pickpocket stuffed her hands into my wife's purse in Spain.  My wife punched her out.  She's from NYC...

Alan Brown
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,900Gear list
there's no video of
In reply to leicaman, Jul 16, 2013

that is there...

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Riki
Senior MemberPosts: 1,477Gear list
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to RickD, Jul 16, 2013

RickD wrote:

Thank you for posting this. I had heard of teams of two doing this (one to distract, one to release and grab the lens) and told myself to always keep a hand on my camera lens, particularly in crowds or if approached unexpectedly. I'm a pretty big guy, so I thought this would cover most situations, so this video was an eye opener for me:

  • There were (at least) six thieves in the gang. Nobody wins a 6 on 1.
  • They converged quickly on the victim and had him isolated and surrounded in seconds.
  • The lens was off the camera and in possession of one of the thieves before the victim even realized he was being mugged.
  • Once they had the lens it was pretty much game over. There was a well rehearsed plan to hide the lens from the victim (notice how the big guy kept between the victim and the thief making off with the lens), and disperse quickly.

Based on this, I'll now be even more careful about going to high risk locations alone; and about making myself a target by carrying an expensive camera/lens around my neck in plain sight.

Thanks again for the reminder. There is a good chance you saved somebody a very bad experience.

-- hide signature --

RickD

That is the reason I posted the link on this forum even though it has nothing to do with the subject/title of the forum. This is a real eye opener. The way the guy detaches the lens (looks like a 70-300 or a 70-200, maybe I am wrong) shows that he must have real good practice doing it and so many people must have lost their lenses this way. Also when the poor victim runs behind the right guy , he is distracted by the guy wearing white who take him in the opposite direction. Real creepy stuff, like a pack of hyenas as someone has commented earlier in the thread. Every camera owner regardless of brand, should see this video.

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malabito
Senior MemberPosts: 1,155Gear list
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to Riki, Jul 16, 2013

Guys this is a must watch video for anyone planning a holiday anywhere in East Europe or Russia. This is an identical MO carried out in Prague, Warsaw and sometimes they are not afraid to walk right upto you and cut the camera strap and snatch it out of your hands. I have seen so many such cases, please watch and be careful always, hope this helps. Thanks

http://youtu.be/4YWaloz-Duw

After reading at most of the replies, it kind of amuses me the fact that people think that using special straps or bags will actually help. That will be only useful on resorts or places were being cautious might actually had help at the beginning. On real crappy places no robber will go through all this to get a camera, they will just kindly point a gun into your head. ...the guy on the video was obviously calling attention with the camera hanging from his neck.
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Johnhk
Regular MemberPosts: 211
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to malabito, Jul 16, 2013

Tell me, how does one take photos on a site seeing tour without exposing the camera? Your statement makes little sense. You would certainly draw attention to yourself if you were constantly taking a camera out of a shopping bag, and it wouldn't just be the attention of thieves it would be everyone around thinking you were a nut case. There have been many threads on this forum reporting similar cases in Russia, and it appears to be very difficult to avoid - we have been warned thanks to this video and poster. Regards,

Future user
Forum MemberPosts: 66
It's a shame...
In reply to Riki, Jul 17, 2013

It's a shame these sons of bitches are free on the streets and not in jail. Unfortunately this is the world we live in: either you protect yourself or you are in risk. And now I know what to do If I ever go to St. Petersburg: I'll keep a weapon inside my bag. If these or another bastards have the bad luck to find me, they'll have no time to say goodbye to their families...

Michael Kaplan
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,057Gear list
Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to fft81, Jul 17, 2013

or what happened to my nephew, they cut open the back pack with a knife and removed his camera (wasn't a dslr)

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mike55
Contributing MemberPosts: 605
Re: It's a shame...
In reply to Future user, Jul 17, 2013

This is why I sometimes leave my D800 and lenses at home and only take my Sony Nex with its 18-200 lens. Many times less is best. I usually shoot with other people and ask them to watch my back not what I am shooting.

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Mike55

JP Scherrer
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,355Gear list
Come off it.....
In reply to Future user, Jul 17, 2013

Future user wrote:

It's a shame these sons of bitches are free on the streets and not in jail. Unfortunately this is the world we live in: either you protect yourself or you are in risk. And now I know what to do If I ever go to St. Petersburg: I'll keep a weapon inside my bag. If these or another bastards have the bad luck to find me, they'll have no time to say goodbye to their families...

As big and strong as you might be, do you think for one minute that you would win a fight with these guys ???

...and about keeping a weapon in your bag ? How old are you ? You watch too much gangsta movies on TV, man ! Grow up and be realistic: just DO NOT GO to places KNOWN to be dangerous, or else, do not bring a visible camera !

Don't forget that you are on THEIR territory and as soon as you walk in the streets, as a tourist you are a LIVING TARGET ! ....and do not count on the local police to help you !

J-P.

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xtm
xtm
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Re: Thieves in St. Petersburg stealing a camera lens from a tourist
In reply to systemguy, Jul 17, 2013

systemguy wrote:

That is what I am afraid of....so I am hoping that the backpack that I have that cannot be accessed form the back will help.

The irony is that the tourist on the video has a Lowepro Flipside 400 backpack, which can not be accessed from the back.

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xtm
xtm
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Re: Come off it.....
In reply to JP Scherrer, Jul 17, 2013

JP Scherrer wrote:

Future user wrote:

It's a shame these sons of bitches are free on the streets and not in jail. Unfortunately this is the world we live in: either you protect yourself or you are in risk. And now I know what to do If I ever go to St. Petersburg: I'll keep a weapon inside my bag. If these or another bastards have the bad luck to find me, they'll have no time to say goodbye to their families...

As big and strong as you might be, do you think for one minute that you would win a fight with these guys ???

...and about keeping a weapon in your bag ? How old are you ? You watch too much gangsta movies on TV, man ! Grow up and be realistic: just DO NOT GO to places KNOWN to be dangerous, or else, do not bring a visible camera !

Don't forget that you are on THEIR territory and as soon as you walk in the streets, as a tourist you are a LIVING TARGET ! ....and do not count on the local police to help you !

J-P.

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EXACTLY! The last thing you want is to land in THEIR jail with murder charges. Best thing to do is get insurance for your gear and be prepared to give it up. The 'brave ones' are the ones who usually end up dead. Being hero is cool, but a lot of heores are also dead.

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JP Scherrer
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Re:Re: Come off it.....
In reply to xtm, Jul 17, 2013

xtm wrote:

Being hero is cool, but a lot of heores are also dead.

...hence they are also cool ! ...or even COLD !

J-P.

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Future user
Forum MemberPosts: 66
Re: Come off it.....
In reply to JP Scherrer, Jul 17, 2013

JP Scherrer wrote:

Future user wrote:

It's a shame these sons of bitches are free on the streets and not in jail. Unfortunately this is the world we live in: either you protect yourself or you are in risk. And now I know what to do If I ever go to St. Petersburg: I'll keep a weapon inside my bag. If these or another bastards have the bad luck to find me, they'll have no time to say goodbye to their families...

As big and strong as you might be, do you think for one minute that you would win a fight with these guys ???

...and about keeping a weapon in your bag ? How old are you ? You watch too much gangsta movies on TV, man ! Grow up and be realistic: just DO NOT GO to places KNOWN to be dangerous, or else, do not bring a visible camera !

Don't forget that you are on THEIR territory and as soon as you walk in the streets, as a tourist you are a LIVING TARGET ! ....and do not count on the local police to help you !

J-P.

Photo Galeries at http://www.pbase.com/scherrer
Spherical Panoramas (360x180 degrees) at http://www.viewat.org/?sec=pn&id_aut=2489
Equipment list in profile

I always take maximum precautions against thieves when travelling. Fortunately I haven't had to use my weapon yet, but I do feel more secure having it with me when travelling. Worst case, it's either my life or the thieves life. I'll have little doubt then.

Anyway, I'm sure that if I shot one of these thieves, the others will run away like rats. If not, I'll try to be fast, very fast

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