TAG YO SHIZ – Why LensTag may be a Godsend

I am going to start this post with a disclaimer: I am not being compensated by LensTag in any way, shape or form.

Last night at around 11pm, I was indulging in a bad habit outside of my apartment complex. ¬†I noticed a few of my neighbors congregating around the side entry to my building’s parking garage. ¬†They seemed upset, so I asked what the situation was. ¬†It turns out someone had entered our private garage (situated underneath our building like most apartments in LA) and had broken into two vehicles. ¬†Almost everything had been stolen: a tricked out iPad, expensive jewelry, leather jackets… even a toy that was meant to be donated to charity. ¬†The general consensus was that the robber intended to hit each car in the garage, but must have been spooked by an opening gate.

One of victims was a family whom had just returned from Michigan after (like many of us, myself included) spending hours in and out of the airport due to Winter Storm Hercules. ¬†Weary from travel, they decided to rest upon arrival and unpack the car the following day. ¬†They followed logic which in theory makes total sense: you park in a locked structure, your shit should be okay for the night. ¬†Unfortunately, all it takes is a side door that doesn’t lock fully to turn your world upside down.

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So what’s the deal?¬†As photographers, we occasionally store our gear in our vehicles… I tend to hide mine under a jacket or something. ¬†Usually only for a few minutes… but that’s really all it takes (see Gone In 60 Seconds). ¬†During my Christmas vacation I read an article on fStoppers about¬†LensTag. ¬†Previously solely web-based, the company developed an iPhone app for the purpose of tagging serial numbers to your equipment. ¬†The owner enters the serial number into the app, and the gear is only verified once an approved photo of the actual serial number is attached to the entry. ¬†In the unfortunate case something is lost or stolen, you can report the gear as stolen using the unique serial number assigned by the manufacturer. ¬†Not only does LensTag allow you to tag cameras and lenses, but also computer equipment, hard drives, etc… anything expensive that, if lost, can be detrimental to your business. ¬†Additionally, if and when you sell or transfer your gear, there is an¬†option to do so within the app.

Unfortunately, LensTag does not double as a Private Investigator and the probability you will see your gear again is low. ¬†But it definitely helps‚ÄďLensTag keeps a running list (located here) of the serial numbers of gear reported stolen. ¬†That way, if it pops up on eBay (et. al.), you have documentation that you are the rightful owner.

Right after I started writing this post, a horror story popped up on Reddit from Evgeny Tchebotarev (co-founder of revered 500px) who had¬†$10,000¬†worth of gear stolen the day after Christmas. ¬†It’s real, guys. ¬†Theft is¬†real.