We showed you the amount of equipment photographers bring with them to cover the Olympics. Now, here’s what happens when all that gear gets stolen. Last week, before the Olympics had even started, award-winning News Corp. photographer Brett Costello had $40,000 in camera gear pilfered from him while sitting in a Rio de Janeiro cafe.
The heist involved a group of individuals who worked together to distract Costello, stealing his rolling camera case from right under his feet.
According to Costello, while he and colleagues stopped to grab coffee, a woman approached him to ask a question. As he looked the other way to face the woman, it distracted him long enough for her accomplice to grab his camera bag and hop into a getaway vehicle. Police were called to the scene, and although the cafe’s security cameras recorded the incident, there was little information and no leads.
To no surprise, Costello was absolutely “gutted.” In speaking to The Courier Mail, Costello admitted it was his fault for not paying enough attention, saying, “I feel stupid that I wasn’t wise to their plan.”
— Emily Benammar (@EmilyBenammar) August 5, 2016
Almost immediately after news got out about the incident, Canon stepped in and helped Costello by getting him loaner gear so he could continue on with his coverage of the Olympic Games. It wasn’t going to heal the wound, but it was at least a Band-Aid for the pricey loss.
Most theft stories would end here, but this isn’t most theft stories.
While heading into Sambodrome venue to shoot the men’s archery events, Costello spotted something unusual on a man standing behind him in line: his photo vest, the same one he had packed inside his camera case that was stolen a few days prior.
Costello immediately recognized the number on the vest and confronted the individual, before being taken into custody. The man had no other credentials to be in the area and claims he bought the vest from someone (Costello says he’s one of the thieves, and several news outlets are reporting as such). While it’s a potential lead, Costello still hasn’t recovered his stolen gear.