View Full Version : Camera Bag stolen - any ways of getting our photos back?

5th Sep 2013, 17:27
Hi all,

now please be gentle with me - I usually only read Jet Blast as I know I'm likely to make a fool of myself if I post.... I usually reside in the ATC bit.

Anyway, I need your help and ideas.

Last week we were lucky enough to do a lovely Mediterranean cruise on a Disney ship and had a fabulous time, taking lots of photographs particularly of our kids. When we arrived back at Barcelona we went to pick up a hire car and whilst packing the car our camera bag with 4 camera's (and a wallet and phone) was stolen from the boot. 2 Digital SLR's and 2 compacts. We were devastated; my two kids in particular as they both had their first camera and so the pictures were really special to them.

The loss of the equipment, whilst frustrating, financially a pain and giving us some hassle is not really the issue - stuff can be replaced. But those photo's can't. I wondered if any of you clever folk on here had any ideas as to how we could trace the cameras and more particularly the memory cards? I mean I guess the thief/thieves will sell the hardware, but would they be likely to take the memory cards out? Any places we could look for our stolen items? (i'm already checking ebay)

Thanks for reading and any ideas are much appreciated.


"Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you're up to..."

5th Sep 2013, 18:06
whilst packing the car our camera bag with 4 camera's (and a wallet and phone) was stolen from the boot

Normally these emails end "... and if you could just send me £1200 I could pay my hotel bill and ...." :uhoh:

Big Hammer
5th Sep 2013, 18:10
Sorry Northerner but the scum probably removed the cards and slung them before selling the cameras etc in a pub for a fraction of thier value. It is very unlikely any one would hand in an SD card to the police if they found it. Even if the kit is found it will be very rare for you pics to still be there. Sorry for the bad news but there is not much chance. However good luck in your searches.

Just a thought, if anybody put any pics on face=book, you could still get those back.

5th Sep 2013, 18:18
Sorry to read this.

Sadly, Barceona has once again become one of Europe's crime spots. It was cleaned up during the Olympics, but the scum filtered back and now with no internal borders inside most of Europe the situation has got worse, and the worst has yet to come.

5th Sep 2013, 18:45
I think realistically your chances of getting back the memory cards (precious memories in this case) are very small. As has been said, the type of thieves who do these robberies are just interested in getting quick cash to feed their drug habit or similar and whilst there might be a chance of recovering the cameras, the incriminating cards would be dumped. It might not be any consolation, but you've had a fantastic family holiday, lots of fun, you're all happy and healthy and when seen from a distance is really all that matters. Get the tiddlers new cameras and get out at the weekend to catch the beautiful beginning of autumn :ok:


5th Sep 2013, 19:30
A long shot but possibly worth seeing if there is an online forum for the cruise ship you went on. There might be fellow passengers on the same cruise as yourself who took generic photos they might be willing to share. :)

5th Sep 2013, 19:30
sorry for being off-topic, butI'm likely to make a fool of myself if I post
how does one know that and how does one resist posting? :ouch:

Otherwise - maybe someone could help translating the letter and suggest a newspaper?

5th Sep 2013, 19:36
Don't give up all hope. Yes, they'll probably be sold separately, but this maximises your chance of the following:-

Someone at a pub that I use had found a camera and was using it. I asked him if i could borrow the card, and did.

There was enough evidence to identify somebody in the images and I tried to make contact.

My big mistake was doing it through Aarse. there i got accused of all sorts, and although the soldier in question did eventually contact me through Cafebook, he never did tell me where to send them.

So , fingers crossed, somebody may try to find you.

The upside is that your insurance will buty new toys.

Airborne Aircrew
5th Sep 2013, 20:43
Look on the bright side... You still have the kids...

Remember this holiday, as a family, as the holiday some thieving pikey tried to spoil by stealing our sh1t, but failed... :ok:

5th Sep 2013, 21:54
And to add.

My two have both been through events where humankind has let them down. Properly explained, it makes them stronger.

We now know that we must have two memory cards for each camera, and swop them every day if we can't send the images home. That will change with trusted online storage, but for now, emailing home is good.

Sailor Vee
5th Sep 2013, 22:00
Unlikely the cards will be discarded, most cameras are easy to operate to the extent of re-formatting cards, helps with the sell-on price for scrotes.

Air Soul
5th Sep 2013, 22:21
How about trying

Stolen Camera Finder - find your photos, find your camera (http://www.stolencamerafinder.com/)

6th Sep 2013, 02:42
No help in the present situation I'm afraid, but I put a couple of small text files on my camera cards called "I_belong_ to_ (Full_ Opposite_ Rudder).txt" and another one called "Owner_details_ if_ found.txt".

The text file contains my hotmail internet address, and a mobile phone number with international prefix.

OK - it's a very long shot, but a chance that the card may be found by someone honest enough to know that someone has lost it and would appreciate its return.

I once found an SD card on the ground outside of the Wanaka aerodrome in NZ.
With an bit of detective work we found a couple of pictures which were taken at a business conference with someone wearing a name tag of the chain involved. A couple of phone calls to that chain took us to the owner, and it was posted back to him. He had given up all hope.

I hope you can recover them, but it doesn't look all that good ....

6th Sep 2013, 03:26
There might be fellow passengers on the same cruise as yourself who took generic photos they might be willing to share.

Ask the cruise people for some generic photos. They may even have some from that particular cruise, which might include your family, as some lines employ wandering photographers.

Sorry for your loss. Turn it from a bad happenstance to a funny story/word of caution for others.

6th Sep 2013, 04:49
When I saw this thread and before opening I would have laid money on it being Spain. What a cess pit of pick pockets, fraudsters and back stabbers.

6th Sep 2013, 06:49
financially a pain

That's why you have insurance, and to be perfectly frank, if you're running around with two DSLRS plus lenses and whatnot, you're being more than a little stupid if you don't have photographer's insurance.

those photo's can't.

Tough. Lesson for the future. Download every night/half-day/whatever onto something else that you keep in a different place, or even better, two copies for a bit of extra resilience.

You should always assume something could go wrong with the cards at any time, and should always seek to back them up at the earliest opportunity.

6th Sep 2013, 06:54
That's a bit bloody harsh, mixture! They were on a cruise with kids - in holiday mode. We're all wise after the event.

Have you never lost data that wasn't backed up?

6th Sep 2013, 07:08
That's a bit bloody harsh, mixture! They were on a cruise with kids - in holiday mode. We're all wise after the event.

They should have had insurance waaayyyy before they even contemplated booking a holiday. Two DSLRs for gods sake ! Insurance isn't an option, its a must.

Have you never lost data that wasn't backed up?

When I go on holiday, I backup my photos whenever I go back to my hotel room normally just once in the evening, but sometimes again if I go back to the hotel during the day.

Anything could happen to your cameras, not just having them stolen. You could drop them, they could get wet, the cards could get corrupted etc.

Sure I've lost data, but its stuff I didn't mind loosing. Stuff I know I can't replace easily... such as photographs, I make sure I've got copies of !

6th Sep 2013, 07:26
Whether they had insurance or not is irrelevant (agreed, if they didn't, a bit foolish....) but the loss they are concerned about is the photos and no insurance could have replaced those.

Just reading FullOppositeRudder's posting. I found an SD card on the ground in Marienplatz in Munich. Stuck it into my laptop and by a few clues and a couple of phone calls was able to trace the owner to an address in Cape Town, close to where I stay. As I was going there a couple of weeks later, I kept it, walked round, knocked on the door, a lady answered, I said are you Mrs. X? She said: "Yes", I said : "Did you lose an SD card with photos of your trip to Germany and Switzerland........?" She was both amazed and delighted.

Alloa Akbar
6th Sep 2013, 07:41
Our house was burgled while we were away on holiday a few weeks ago, camera nicked and laptops containing lots of treasured photos taken too.. It was at that point I stopped complaining about SWMBO uploading pics onto facebook and her photograph storage websites... Glad she does!!

I like that camera finder website, does it actually work I wonder??

6th Sep 2013, 07:43
VERY VERY long shot but what about a G o o g l e translated letter to a Barcelona newspaper?

And offer a reward of some sort - at least enough for a good night out.

No help in the present situation I'm afraid, but I put a couple of small text files on my camera cards called "I_belong_ to_ (Full_ Opposite_ Rudder).txt" and another one called "Owner_details_ if_ found.txt".

Brilliant idea, Full, I'll be doing that with all our cameras now, and the SD cards in the Satnags etc. I also photograph all my new kit as I buy it with the serial number clearly visible. I think I will now also email those photos to my (accessible anywhere) Gmail inbox.

6th Sep 2013, 07:44
Our house was burgled while we were away on holiday a few weeks ago, camera nicked and laptops containing lots of treasured photos taken too

Well, I wouldn't quite condone the use of Facebook for it, but at least one off-site backup copy is a must, as you've discovered.

6th Sep 2013, 07:46
I like that camera finder website, does it actually work I wonder??

Not with my camera, apparently it doeasn't write its ID in the photographs.

Airborne Aircrew
6th Sep 2013, 11:07

It was at that point I stopped complaining about SWMBO uploading pics onto facebook and her photograph storage websites... Glad she does!!
Just remember that those pictures often carry position data if they are taken with any device with a GPS.

A 1Tb external drive is about $100 now and a firesafe for under $300 that bolts to your floor cleverly installed in a boring looking cupboard may not even be found but will deter all but a determined thief... The drive will more than hold all your data and papers and valuables can also be put in the safe. So, a large part of your "life" can be effectively secured for under $400... Beats the hell out of insurance because insurance doesn't bring back the intangibles.

6th Sep 2013, 11:43
Beats the hell out of insurance because insurance doesn't bring back the intangibles.

Well you must be bloody rich Airborne Aircrew if you can afford to re-purchase all the tangibles after a major event, in addition to covering the costs for builders and other tradesmen to repair the damage. :)

Sure the intangibles are important, but I wouldn't go dismissing the value of insurance as much as you did.

6th Sep 2013, 11:47

Try 'Cruise Critic' forum, look/post on the Disney threads, or more likely the 'ports of call' - 'Spain' - 'Barcelona' threads.

There have been a few remarkable stories of cameras/memory cards being reunited with rightfull owners after such incidents.

Airborne Aircrew
6th Sep 2013, 11:53

My homeowners insurance covers physical loss. My point was that you can spend all the money you like on insurance but the things insurance never gets back is the priceless things. $400 for protection of the intangibles is chicken feed.

6th Sep 2013, 12:17

Agree with you there. Don't think I ever suggested it was there to cover intangibles, I was talking in reference to the OP's DSLR collection.

6th Sep 2013, 14:20
If you can, maybe try this:

A girlfriend had her handbag lifted some years back. The police suggested she go back to the last place she knew she had it and look around behind any nearby fences, hedges etc. Sure enough, the bag was thrown into a small hedge - she was able to retrieve a lot of (non-cash) items, keys, cards and the bag itself.

Apparently those of the sticky-finger persuasion don't like to hold on to stolen things for long. They rifled the cash and threw the rest away pronto.

Good luck!

P.S. Watch those memory cards too. I changed the battery on our camera in Keflavik airport right before boarding a flight and didn't realize the card sprang out at the same time. Luckily my 14-year old was able to sweet-talk the stewardess into letting him de-plane and recovered it from the Gate floor. Phew! 900 holiday pics would have been lost.

6th Sep 2013, 19:35
Thank you all for your thoughts and insights and taking the time to post.

Yes the hardware is insured, I just meant financially a pain as we have to claim and possibly/probably put our insurance premium up, but as I said stuff can be replaced. We had 2 DSLR's with us as one was my better half's, and the other was his old one which we had given to older son as his first proper camera. The compact's were mine and the younger son's, not very expensive anyway, just the hassle and loss of pictures, especially those he took on what was his first camera in a family that loves taking pictures.

Didn't have the stuff to download the photos as we went - yes a lesson learned there. I don't do Fb or any of that, we just download at home (and we do back up) - you live and learn.

I like the idea of a letter/advert in the papers; I have a Spanish colleague at work so I'm going to get him to write something and will offer a reward.

Air Soul I'll try that site too, thanks, not sure whether our stuff will do that but it might and anything is worth a try.

FOR thanks for that tip too... worth it for the future.

Pleasure flyer - good thought, thankyou.

Disney have been very good and we are to get a set of generic photos and a couple of the ones the professionals took of us on the cruise so we will have some momento's.

We did have a look around the car hire site after the bag went, on the way back from the police station. I checked all the bins and nothing there. Also had a look when we returned the car a couple of days later and still nothing. Your tales of your own good nature returning others is heartwarming and does go someway to restoring my faith in most human nature, but at the moment I'm going on a worst case of 'gone for good', with the hope that if they re-appear in any way I would be very happily surprised.

Thank you all for your help and for not tearing me to shreds in my first JB appearance!!! :O;)


"Keep smiling - it makes people wonder what you're up to..."

6th Sep 2013, 21:01
I hope you watched Channel 4's "Secrets of the Pickpockets" Friday night!

It focussed on the 2000 Brits a year with items stolen from cars, bags and pockets in Barcelona alone ...

6th Sep 2013, 22:09
now please be gentle with mePoor did-dums:yuk:

6th Sep 2013, 22:50
Ok so the horse has bolted and I hope the outcome ends well however small the odds, however for future reference;

Apple (United Kingdom) - iCloud - New photos on all your devices. (http://www.apple.com/uk/icloud/features/photo-stream.html)

Your photos everywhere. In a flash.
Take a photo on an iOS device. Or import a photo from your digital camera to your computer. iCloud automatically pushes a copy of that photo over any available Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection to the Photos app on your iOS devices, iPhoto or Aperture on your Mac and the Pictures Library on your PC. You can even view your Photo Stream album on your Apple TV. So you can show off your shots to friends and family from whichever device you’re using at the time.

Similar systems available on other OS's :ok:

6th Sep 2013, 23:17
I'd agree, avoid Barcelona, crime capital of Europe.

7th Sep 2013, 08:14
The Channel 4 show said that, under Spanish law:
you can't be arrested for an attempted pickpocket ("dip") - only a successful one,
You can't be arrested for a theft of less than €400, only bailed to appear in court for a fine,
the maximum fine is only €100, (and you get more than that on average in a single tourist "dip"),
pickpockets in Spain make €20,000 - €60,000 a year on their "job", and
Most have been arrested and released over 50 times. :suspect:

With 1.5 million Brits a month arriving in Spain with their bags stuffed full of cameras and laptops, wallets stuffed with holiday cash and pockets bulging with the latest smart phones it's no wonder it's a thief's paradise! :ooh:

So, if you go to Barcelona and you are in a tourist spot (beach, street cafe, cathedral square), it's time to play "spot the dip gang" (they are guaranteed to be there, so if you can't see them it's because you aren't looking!) - the three or four black haired 20-35 yo guys who are dressed in dirty sneakers, faded jeans and un-tucked T-shirts, who are watching the crowd and not the sights, talking to each other but not looking at each other ...

... and if someone invades your personal space for any reason, you are under attack!
someone touches your shoulder to tell you you have a stain on your shirt
someone touches you with a clipboard (usually a girl) to take a survey
someone grabs your shoulder in a friendly fashion and plays at playing football
a woman grabs and hugs a man, as in attempting to sell herself

Hold out your hand and keep them at arm's length (not aggressively, you aren't trying to trigger a fight!) eg reach under their clipboard (where you'll probably meet their hand going for your gear!), push it up against their chest and gently shove them back - do this to a normal person and they would back off and apologise, if they still try to get close then you are DEFINITELY under attack! :uhoh:

7th Sep 2013, 08:27
When I go out in BCN, it's in scruffy clothes (as per normal), an old wallet in my trouser pockets stuffed with worthless currency and a couple of old credit cards with the details filed off and a note in several languages thanking the thief for relieving me of rubbish and making some rather harsh comments about his parentage. A friend of mine does the same but has a couple of razor blades in the wallet too.

Any money I need to have on me apart from coins is kept in a zipped inside pocket and would probably be about €50.

Come to think of it, I probably look rather like the ....... black haired 20-35 yo guys who are dressed in dirty sneakers, faded jeans and un-tucked T-shirts but older and greyer!

7th Sep 2013, 10:24
My procedure on lay overs was a sacrificial wallet with some innocuous ID, (in case I end up in hospital, you know, step out in front of a bus), with enough money that the bad guys will take it and be off rather than beating me up because they are pee'd off and want to take it out on me. As far as I am concerned the razor blade trick could backfire badly if the bad guys find them and decide to let you know they don't like what you did.
I am willing to sacrifice a decent amount to avoid being beaten up.

7th Sep 2013, 11:25
If I get a hold of one tampering with my wallet I'll swing for 'em. I wrap a rubber band around my wallet, then I am aware it being withdrawn from my pocket.

7th Sep 2013, 12:06
They are like dogs at a rubbish bin - shine a light on them (i.e. spot them, and let them know you've spotted them), and they scuttle off - but try and attack them and they'll attack back, and some of them carry knives (and they all have close by accomplices).

The object is not to get robbed - not to start a fight you might not be prepared for.

Airborne Aircrew
7th Sep 2013, 12:21
On my sojourns into Belize City in the dark of night my wallet would have US$5 in it, not a penny more. The wallet was in my back left pocket. In my back right pocket was a smallish knife. The idea was that if someone was trying to rob me I could decide to fight or give and the act of reaching for the back right pocket is entirely expected by the thief.

My money and ID were in my rolled up shirt sleeve where no-one would think to look and only enough money would come out of there in the privacy of a lavatory or wherever to pay for what I was buying.

7th Sep 2013, 12:31
Or you can buy a pacsafe ankle holster for wallet, keys, etc ...

Airborne Aircrew
7th Sep 2013, 13:46
Or you can buy a pacsafe ankle holster for wallet, keys, etc ...

That's where I keep my BUG*...

* Back up gun... :ok:

Flap 5
7th Sep 2013, 14:22
Having read the posters post I felt your pain. As you are now very aware the cameras can be replaced but the photos can not.

My daughter recently went on a 6 week trip to the USA and Peru and took over 13Gb of photos with her new Nikon dslr. On the way to the airport on her final day the camera was stolen. Fortunately she had taken an external portable drive and had downloaded all of the photos.

She is now going through the tribulations of dealing with the insurance company, but we have the photos. Not a lot of help for your situation, I know, but for future reference, and for others, backup the photos regularly (at least daily) on an external drive while you are away. Don't rely on internet connections for google drive or whatever, although that it is a good backup to an external drive.

Paranoia? Not when you can lose photos which can never be retaken.

Airborne Aircrew
7th Sep 2013, 20:22
Flap 5:

I agree entirely. When we adopted our daughter from China I bought my first dSLR and took 4 16Gb SD cards, a laptop and an external drive. I took 3900 pictures in 19 days and, as you can imagine, many are utterly irreplaceable... I didn't delete a single original from the cards and every evening the pictures were copied to the laptop and the external drive. Cards that became full were spread throughout the luggage, the laptop and external drive were never kept together. No, I had no intention of losing a single picture. I was fortunate that nothing failed and nothing was stolen, but the planning for potential eventualities certainly gave me confidence.

7th Sep 2013, 20:33
3900 pictures in 19 days!! :eek:

I wouldn't take 19 pictures in 3900 days! :bored:

Airborne Aircrew
7th Sep 2013, 23:11

Since my wife and I are in our latter fifties the chances of us going back to China with out daughter are not high... I wanted to be able to give her a feel for the country she came from... There's a lot of good pictures and there's a lot of "blah" pictures... But there are pictures like the first few seconds we met that are priceless, utterly priceless...


That picture is, absolutely, priceless... It was taken by a French couple that were adopting at the same time... I have others of the same time period but this is the very first picture of one of us with our daughter. There are now copies all over the world - it will never be lost... :ok:

Damn, looking at that picture tears me up a bit.... She was so damn small it's unbelievable....

7th Sep 2013, 23:15

Awesome photo :ok:

Airborne Aircrew
7th Sep 2013, 23:27

It is seared in my mind... The lady on the left was the orphanage director. The lady on the right was our guide... Obviously then, the lady "squatting" is my wife... We have "better" pictures of this event but this is the very first....

That little girl is exceeding our best expectations.... By a couple of football fields... :ok:

7th Sep 2013, 23:34

Good to hear.

I am sure you and your wife will set her up for her future to survive
and prosper.

Airborne Aircrew
8th Sep 2013, 01:24
Did I tell you how unbelievably hot it was in that room...

Nanning, China in late May.... Who knows what August was like... :uhoh:

8th Sep 2013, 03:30
If it's anything like Northern Aus buildings without air conditioning
then I can imagine.

8th Sep 2013, 08:35
It's a lovely picture - how long ago was it taken? :)

west lakes
8th Sep 2013, 12:04
That picture is, absolutely, priceless.

Just as is the Polaroid that was taken of my wife holding YWL for the first time (he was 4 days old) a few days later we brought him home and 6 months after that adopted him.

As with A A now scanned and on the internet

Airborne Aircrew
8th Sep 2013, 12:07

31st May 2010...

8th Sep 2013, 14:17
Airborne Aircrew wrote: Checkboard: 31st May 2010... . Which would mean that you were only about 52 years old at the time. I've much admiration for your very positive outlook on life, adopting such a young child, at your age. For reasons beyond my own comprehension, I believe that she will be very happy, growing up in your care. By comparison though, I believe that the cats I have at present will be my last (reckoning that they should live another 10-15 years bringing us up to 2023-2028 when I shall be between 63 and 68 years old and still working hopefully for a fully paid-up pension), after which adopting more cats becomes less obvious...?!

Whatever, going back to the original thread subject, it's time that FedEx, DHL or TNT etc. came up with a suitable range of products - some form of "pre-paid" envelopes in various sizes which "could be used Internationally", fitting easily into our wallets, purses, travel-bags etc.?! The thieves / pick-pockets, keeping all the cash, the credit cards, the mobile phones, PCs and tablets, cameras etc., might then might have the easy opportunity to return passports, memory cards and other important documents less easily sold-on, back to their rightful owners simply and rapidly. Ideally, such envelopes could simply be placed in any country's mail-box (instead of rubbish bin). Of course, these envelopes here in France (and perhaps much of Europe) will need instructions in Romanian, to be of any use...?! :confused:

Airborne Aircrew
8th Sep 2013, 17:01

Thank you... I'm pretty sure she will be our last adoption too... ;) SO far she is very happy. She goes to a school where half her day is spent learning in Mandarin, takes two different dance classes, swimming classes and gymnastics. She loves to sing and dance and when she lets herself go she reads a couple of grades above her level. Edited to add that she loves camping and fishing and could happily live on her uncle Jim's boat... :ok:

As to your suggestion re: envelopes.... Were I a thief my first worry would be fingerprints...

9th Sep 2013, 15:36
AA, I wish you all the best, very glad to know she's learning Mandarin too?! I'm thinking though, you had better "brush-up" on swear-words in Mandarin / Cantonese, just so you know when she's upset...?! :ok:

If everyone treated "the World" as AA seemingly does (and the Chinese authorities did in his case in allowing / facilitating the adoption), perhaps we would no longer need to fight any more wars (except when despots and dictators were still involved)...?

Going back to the original thread subject, I don't believe that most governments or police forces take "pick-pockets" or such petty-thefts very seriously for various reasons. In France at least, these thefts are most-often committed by mostly under-aged individuals (classed as children or minors if you prefer) of often Romanian, or other descent. Because there is usually "no-violence" involved, prosecution and/or any eventual prison sentences are very rare. Going through the rigmarole of taking finger-prints, DNA samples etc. would be a waste of resources, best left to the UK Met or Scotland Yard and their propensity to consider everyone as a potential terrorist threat etc.

In an ideal world (not so far from AA's, France would "temporarily detain" these children (and their parents most importantly), offering them an alternative to petty-thefts, perhaps in the form of a program which would allow many of these Romanians the hope of a certain "permanent status involving eventual citizenship", in return for "good behaviour" and more or less full access "as a French citizen might" in France instead of simply being "paid" cash, plus flights or bus-transportation etc., at the end of each summer to go back to Romania or wherever. It's quite clear "that their EU countries of origin" hardly respect them as citizens, more generally regard them as vermin. These EU countries know who they are, given sufficient time, they may eventually take more responsibility for the general well-being and prospects of their citizens within their own countries. If not, they (the countries involved) should be ejected from the EU eventually...:mad:

The EU is a club. And has never yet thrown-out any member. That is unusual for a start. With current membership rates, the EU should be throwing out at least 1 member per year these days so as to keep the club membership relatively clean. And that's excluding those like the UK who complain so much each and every year...?! :ok: