Camera Thief Accidentally Reveals Himself On Instagram

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Canon 5D Mark III DSLR camera.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital camera. Image obtained with thanks from Canon.

In Melbourne, Australia, a seller posted two Canon lenses for sale online and was contacted by a photographer who expressed an interest in it. The seller provided his home address, then the buyer backed out of the deal. Less than a week later, a thief broke into his home and stole $15,000 of camera gear! That was quick.

Canon 5D Mark III DSLR camera.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital camera.
Image obtained with thanks from Canon.

The equipment included a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR camera, and a Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens. The buyer posted that he got new camera equipment (identical to the stolen items). He even posted photographs taken with the ‘new’ equipment on Instagram, but didn’t realize that the camera automatically added the seller’s name to every photo taken, which was shown in the EXIF data on Instagram.

NB: It’s important to note that thieves often sell stolen items, therefore, the person you catch with your stolen goods is not necessarily the thief. In this case, the thief pled guilty. Also note that you should never let customers visit your home address to pick up items. You should meet them in a public place if the items being sold won’t be shipped. 

If you purchase a new camera, the first thing you should do is make it easier to identify. You can make distinctive marks on or in it, and should definitely write down the serial number. Adding your name to the EXIF data will help to identify cases of theft like the seller did, as well as copyright infringement.