A rash of robberies has hit San Francisco and Oakland television news crews and still photographers in recent years, endangering the crews and shearing them of their equipment.
The latest incident, on July 23, involved the most brazen robbery, as San Francisco Examiner photographer Mike Koozmin was robbed directly across from the city’s criminal courthouse around 11:15 a.m. Koozmin said he was walking on Bryant Street with Examiner staff writer Laura Dudnick when two thugs behind him yanked the strap to his Canon 1D X and dragged him 40 feet down an alley. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “We struggled for a while, probably for a lot longer than they’ve struggled with other people, and they were pulling as hard as they could on the strap. You could see the look of desperation of one guy. In his head, I could see he was thinking of Plan B and I knew I didn’t want to be a part of his Plan B.”
Koozmin let the thieves take the camera, his lens, filter, flash and memory card, worth roughly $10,000. They climbed into a waiting car in the alley and took off.
Bay Area police are baffled as to the reason for the robberies.
In July alone, three robberies occurred; the July incident involving Koozmin, a July 21 robbery in which thieves in Oakland stole electronics from a parked KTVU van, and a July 2 incident at Pier 4 in San Francisco in which a thug pistol-whipped a KNTV cameraman during a live broadcast before stealing two cameras and tripods.