This is a funny experience that one would love to go through for the thrill or just watch as it happens as long as things don’t get nasty in the process. This photographer hosted a party at his place where he had random people attend, mostly groupies with their friends. There is always a mix of types of individuals and you wouldn’t go long into your circle of friends before you get a kleptomaniac amongst them. So upon clearing the party damage from the previous light, Jeff Hu noticed the missing love of his life, the DSLR camera that he holds dear.
He immediately filed a report with the police listing the details he had at hand, minus the essentials like camera box and receipt that would include camera IMEI. That was on the weekend. On Monday Hu decides to peruse Craig-list without any hopes of getting it there, and viola! The darling camera was there staring at him, waiting for him. The thief had already posted it for sale, complete with a story to cover up why he didn’t have a receipt or box for that matter. It was a gift, was the explanation. Jeff was able to even pin point the scratches on the device in the low light photo posted and was sure it was his.
Time to think fast!
Jeff went on to create a fake email to try contact the thief before they got a deal, he had the feeling this would be a fast sell, so acting fast was on impulse. The feedback on the fake email gave him a name to work with. A search led him to an open Facebook profile. He was inching closer. He even had a face and even recalled seeing the thief at his place the previous night.
One thing was missing however!
He didn’t have the IMEI as the box was with some relative. A site Stolen Camera Finder came to the rescue and he had the camera IMEI from the EXIF data of images he had taken previously with the camera. He updated the police with all this, he had a case!
But he wanted to go the whole hog.
He got to convince the thief to meet him at a local coffee shop to make the purchase, the thief never picked anything peculiar. He even asked his friends to create fake emails and keep the guy busy in-case the deal didn’t go through, to add options. Jeff requested his friends’ help in posing as random customers, one inside the cafe and the other outside in-case the guy became smart. This wasn’t enough, he needed a cop incase the guy came armed. A visit to the cop shop yielded some success as Jeff was given two undercover cops, armed. They were surprised at how efficiently he had executed his plan.
Some undercover work and the guy came calling, the friend outside alerted Jeff that the thief was in, the cops were made aware too. The cops didn’t wait for Jeff to execute his plan but tapped the guy as he ordered coffee and confiscated his backpack. The camera was there. And he was armed with a fake gun, something that would have made things tricky had they done it on their own.
Jeff was able to identify his stash at the police station and lived to tell the story. Probably took the camera to counselling for the shock of having another owner.