On a trip to Italy, Manny Ortiz (a regular here on DIYP) just had every filmmaker’s worst nightmare come true. $16,000 worth of cameras, lenses, and other video gear was stolen right under his nose. If you’re curious about how it happened, I’ll share the details below, but if you are interested, here are some tips on protecting your gear from being stolen.
A trip gone wrong
To Manny, this trip to Italy was a business trip. The intention was to collect footage in Rome and Venice for a sponsored video. For that task, Manny brought all of his favorite gear with him: a Sony FX3, Sony ZV1, and a hefty collection of lenses, including a 35m f/1.4 GM and a 20mm f/1.8, multiple GoPros, and over $2,000 worth of new PolarPro McKinnon filters, some of which weren’t even released yet.
Luckily it was only one bag that was stolen. Most of the gear was in a Think Tank carry-on, which was gone. But some other gear, like the Leica Q2 and the (embargoed at the time) Sony a6700 ($1,398), were in his personal bag. Manny explains he took both bags with him on a train ride while in Rome, but by the time the train started moving, the Think Tank was missing.
Understandably, Manny freaked out the moment he noticed. After asking people around, he discovered such theft is common in the area, but on the bright side, there are security cameras around. With this in mind, Manny went to the nearby police station, not expecting to get his gear back but at least see what happened. Sadly for him, only the police can look at the footage, so for the time, all he could do was file a report and ask them to start an investigation.
The real problem
The real problem for Manny was why he even went to Italy in the first place. Manny was there to collect footage, but with most of his gear stolen, he was in trouble. For the most part, he managed to get by, as the main camera he needed, the Leica Q2, was in his personal bag, not the stolen bag.
The end of the story
Manny had PPA insurance, so some of the damage was mitigated with a $15,000 claim when he returned to Chicago. Still, although Manny got out of this mess with minor (minor?) losses, there is a lesson to share here. There are robbers everywhere, and even if you are the vigilant type, Manny was law enforcement in his previous career, you can still get robbed.