Thread: Komodo Stolen At Gunpoint (KMDST000609). Over $10,000 Lost.

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  1. #1 Komodo Stolen At Gunpoint (KMDST000609). Over $10,000 Lost. 
    (Disclaimer: Everyone mentioned here is okay today.
    Most of the details are still vague in my memory but the events are consistent.
    I am just writing this in the hopes of getting my stuff back)

    On September 18th, 2020 around 9:45am, a gun was pointed at my friend and I, demanding that we give up our camera.

    We were interviewing a local community leader in a small park in West Oakland, California.
    The neighborhood is definitely a gritty one, but since we were with a local leader and working in broad daylight, we felt pretty safe.

    Moments after we had stopped recording the interview, two young men wearing face masks (like everyone does these days) approached us suddenly.
    This didn't feel entirely out of place since we often get inquiries about our equipment, but as soon as I noticed what appeared to be a handgun, I knew something was horribly wrong.

    I saw them before my friend did.
    Standing just a few feet from us, the young man with empty hands said, quietly almost, "Give us the camera."

    My friend, who was in the middle of changing the camera configuration had it in his hands.
    He was still processing what was going on and glanced at me.
    Lifting both of my hands slowly, tilting my head towards the ground avoiding eye contact as much as possible, I said, "Give it to them."

    My friend complied and handed it over.
    Frustrated and angry by what was happening, I couldn't let them leave with the interview we had just captured.
    It was a special conversation that deserves to be heard widely and was meant to directly benefit communities like the one we were in.

    I quietly and firmly demanded, "Just leave the memory card! Please."

    The words coming out of my mouth felt strange.
    With the gun still pointed at us, the two young men had the upper hand.
    Who was I to make any demands?

    I looked down at the floor as I put my palms down on the park table that was in front of me, waiting for whatever was next.
    The young man searched awkwardly around the camera confused, "How does it open?"
    My friend assisted him, reaching over and using one hand to open the card slot and took out the card 512 Gigabytes I couldn't believe we got the shot.

    They stepped backwards and demanded, "Get down on the floor."

    We all complied, except for our interview subject who was still seated in her chair barking, "I'm not getting down, I haven't done nothing!!!"
    She repeated in a grouchy and punishing tone that only a great-grand-mother can belch, "You know you wrong! You know you wrong!"

    As they ran down the street, our interview subject got up from her chair and looked to see if they were gone. She turned back towards us, "Leave!!!"

    We quickly got up, leaving behind our subject who kept watch.
    I looked back and could see her looking down the street, worried if she would be okay.
    She was old and could only walk slowly but there was no time to talk.

    My friend and I walked down a couple of blocks to where our other colleague was waiting with the rest of our gear, shaken and dumbfounded by what just happened.

    "We got jacked," I told him, "We gotta go."

    We drove to a safer location and called the police.
    Our other colleague was able to pick up our interview subject and we all spent a couple of hours giving statements to the police.

    (The photograph attached shows me conducting the interview, moments before the events I described.)

    ----

    Today as I write this, I'm still processing what happened and am so thankful that we are all okay.

    As nothing can change what happened, I've decided not to press charges against those two young men, if they are ever found.

    I understand that we live in a desperate world and that people feel compelled to leverage violence to make their way.

    This is wrong and I wish there was another way.

    ----

    If you happen to come across any of the items below, please let me know. Now you know where they came from.

    KOMODO 6K S35 (LIMITED EDITION) (Serial #:KMDST000609) Value: $6,995
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens (Serial#: 6475006054) Value: $1,699
    OSEE G7 7inch 3000nits HDMI/SDI 4K HDR (Serial#: G7 4K 07E4700301) Value: $721.50
    Polar Pro VND 2-5 stop (Peter McKinnon Edition) Value $249.99
    GDU 98Wh Mini V-lock battery (RED ANODIZED) Value $220
    Wooden Camera Battery Slide Pro V-Mount for RED KOMODO Camera Value: $399.00
    Top Handle Kit (RED KOMODO, ARCA Swiss) Value: $299.00
    GDU Timmy Ribs for Komodo 2 Value: $78

    Total Value: $10,441.49

    Stay safe out there.
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  2. #2  
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    What a terrible thing, Ruben. I am so happy that no one got hurt.

    Shanah tovah u'metukah.
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  3. #3  
    Glad everyone is ok. It only takes a second for a situation like that to go south.

    Having had a very significant theft years ago, I will just say that you're much more forgiving than I am. If they would have caught those that stole my equipment, I would have pressed for full prosecution. We may be living in extraordinary and desperate times, but those criminals committed armed robbery. They weren't just a couple of starving kids stealing a loaf of bread.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Michael Winokur's Avatar
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    You did the right thing letting the camera go. Unfortunately this has happened in the Bay Area to many times. Including at least one that ended very badly: https://petapixel.com/2017/07/19/pho...gd9olZ0r66dRzc
    Epic Dragon #4048
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  5. #5  
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    OMG, Ruben that is horrible......Glad you and your team are ok.... I hope either they find the gear unharmed or insurance will reimburse you for the cost, however no one can ever give you back that peace of mind. So sorry it had to happen to your Storm Trooper. People these days are just so desperate they give no thought to what this will do to others.

    You're a true DP when you value the shot on your cards more then the gear. lol.... Sad thing is I bet he had no clue what the value of that gear was and prob sold it to some other kid for near nothing.
    I was in Nepal recently filming a slum area and was approached by a mob of teens that was drooling over our gear. Thankfully my associate and I got out without anything stolen, but we had to do a quick get away.
    Last edited by Andrew Kommers; 09-20-2020 at 08:01 PM.
    1st AC | Movi Operator | Shotover & Freefly Pilot | RED Komodo ST #839 | Nikon Z6 Shooter | DZO Film 20-55

    #crashingisntanoption
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  6. #6  
    Appreciate it, Jonny!

    I hope the new year is filled with plenty of sweet sweet honey.
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Scott Balkum's Avatar
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    Wow! Glad you are ok. Very sorry about the theft and the situation. I can’t imagine emotionally processing that.
    Red Dragon-x "Big-Skippy"

    www.imaginationx.com

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  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Kommers View Post
    OMG, Ruben that is horrible......Glad you and your team are ok.... I hope either they find the gear unharmed or insurance will reimburse you for the cost, however no one can ever give you back that peace of mind. So sorry it had to happen to your Storm Trooper. People these days are just so desperate they give no thought to what this will do to others.

    You're a true DP when you value the shot on your cards more then the gear. lol.... Sad thing is I bet he had no clue what the value of that gear was and prob sold it to some other kid for near nothing.
    I was in Nepal recently filming a slum area and was approached by a mob of teens that was drooling over our gear. Thankfully my associate and I got out without anything stolen, but we had to do a quick get away.
    Haha! Thanks Andrew. I just HAD to go for the flashy Storm Trooper option and the Red Anodized Battery.
    Yeah, and in regards to the memory card, it felt surreal to make the ask. We'll see how insurance pans out, the process takes a while to turn around. Getting the police report takes about two weeks at least.

    Stay well out there and safe in those slums!
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Balkum View Post
    Wow! Glad you are ok. Very sorry about the theft and the situation. I can’t imagine emotionally processing that.
    Thanks Scott, that means a lot to me.
    Feels rough to loose my first RED :( but I'm glad everything turned out okay.
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member yann LHENORET's Avatar
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    What a sad story Reuben, glas that everyone is safe. I'm amazed by your wisdom and your will to save your footage in a moment like this. You're driver by pure passion. Komodos should all be geolocalizable.
    🧠+👁️+👂🏼+📹=...
    Documentary shaper, "that guy...".
    https://m.imdb.com/name/nm1523882/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
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