How to Find a Stolen Camera

Having a camera stolen is not something you want to experience – especially if you are a professional photographer, or happened to have a camera stolen with irreplaceable images that were still on the memory card. Stolen Camera Ideally you want to safeguard against theft of the camera and gear in the first place however,  click here for functional anti-theft camera gear- if your camera is stolen, you have a few resources that might help you find your camera.  Here are a few ideas.

Stolen Camera Finder Website

The website called stolencamerafinder is an open source project that was specifically made to help locate a missing camera by searching for photos on the web that have been taken by that camera. This can happen because every photo you take with your digital camera contains hidden information about both the image and the camera such as the make, model and date. This information, called exif data, can also include a unique serial number which identifies your camera.  The website stolencamerafinder crawls the internet searching for photos, collecting the serial numbers of the cameras that took them. Take into consideration that only certain cameras can support this, and on the above website, they have a listing of supported cameras that you can check to see if yours has this unique camera security and recovery feature. Another idea might be to consider entering your camera’s digital information into certain online databases that may help find it after being stolen. Recently a professional photographer recovered his stolen Nikon D3 camera using a new Stolen Camera Serial Search online database. The stolen camera was tracked down through images posted on Flickr after the device was stolen that were scanned and indexed by the stolen camera database found on GadgetTrak. Police acted on evidence provided and recovered the camera a year after it was stolen. More Important Information – A professional photographer experienced the unthinkable while on assignment for Getty Images. His prized possession, a Nikon D3 camera was stolen from him at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. It seemed the camera with lenses valued at over $9,000 was gone forever; gone that is, until just a few months ago when he did a search for his camera on  a stolen Camera Serial Search database.   The photographer entered the serial number of his stolen camera and found an exact match with several images that were recently posted to Flickr.

With the help of police, the photographer was able to track the images to another professional photographer through Facebook, who had unknowingly purchased the stolen camera from an individual and even had the receipt to prove it. The camera was returned to Heller and the police are currently investigating the individual whom it was purchased from, the investigation is still ongoing.

This is the first time stolen property has been recovered by tracking the serial number embedded in images. We have also learned that thanks to this recovery, the LAPD is now recommending our tool to detectives and officers in the field. The GadgetTrak’s Camera Serial Search tool is a free service that we developed that scans images posted online and extracts their embedded serial numbers into a searchable database. It allows people to enter the serial number of a camera and see all of the photos that we have discovered that were taken by that camera. To date they have indexed more than 10 million camera serial numbers, making it the largest database of its kind. They have currently indexed all of the photos on professional photo sites like 500px.com as well as all images posted to Flickr from 2006 to the present, with plans to search additional sites in the works.Form more information about this subject – check out the following links.

Media Coverage

Gadget Track Article TechCrunch – Embedded Serial Number Helps Photographer Find His Stolen Camera Gizmodo – How This Pro Photographer Recovered $9k Worth of Stolen Gear Popular Photography Magazine – Website Helps Recover a Nikon D3 Using EXIF Data