Cine Theft


Police investigating theft of Cooke 5/i lenses at IBC a few years ago

  • Don’t leave equipment unattended.
  • Don’t leave equipment unattended, even in locked vehicles.
  • Lock up equipment in a safe area at night, even if the studio is locked.
  • Treat camera equipment as risky business — like jewelry.
  • At trade shows like IBC, watch your cameras and lenses like hawks, and hire guards.

At IBC this year, it almost felt like a Walmart for thieves with shopping lists. They helped themselves to at least three of the latest Angénieux anamorphic zooms. A couple of years ago, the lenses of choice were Cooke 5/i. Then it was Dedo Weigert’s and Wooden Camera’s booth. Rental houses, camera trucks and studios are constant targets.

If your equipment is stolen, report it at: missing

If you’re buying equipment and it’s “too good to be true,” check the same list:  missing

Charlie Davidson and Harry Box volunteer for the Production Equipment Rental Group (PERG). It’s a part of PLASA, the trade organization.

Charlie said, “PERG  is a collection of mostly US and Canadian rental companies. We’re pretty well known among medium and larger size rental companies, but we don’t get to small rental companies and individual owner-operators.” Smaller rental houses and owner-operators of the world: join.

You can post to and access the Missing Equipment list for free.

But there are additional benefits to joining. Companies on board at PERG can share information about sketchy customers and get references on new customers.

Charlie Davidson said, “These have already reduced the incidence of fraud where customers with fake ID rent packages and disappear.

“Theft of production equipment is a worldwide problem. The PERG/PLASA Rental Guard Missing Equipment List for just the 2014/5 time period includes listings valued at more than $8 million. Given that this only represents part of the overall picture, we know that worldwide losses from theft must be considerably more. Most thefts fall into one of three categories. Some are direct break-ins to rental facilities, others have been by fraud, where customers with fake ID have rented gear and disappeared.  Perhaps the largest category has been theft from production vehicles. Some of the thefts are clearly done by professionals who know exactly what they are after while others appear more random crimes of opportunity.

“Our objective, in creating Rental Guard, is to make it more difficult for criminals to steal equipment and increase the chance of recovery when thefts do occur. Providing our members and rental companies everywhere with tools such as Rental Guard as well as tips and suggestions to improve security and procedures helps to reduce the incidence of theft.  Our centralized, easy to access, missing equipment database has already helped in recovery.

“Equipment theft affects more than just rental companies. There is direct impact on production costs in terms of rental and insurance rates as well as potential downtime. Equipment theft is equally a problem for crew members whose own kit of accessories or personal tools are equally at risk. Currently, it’s the rental companies that are active however, reducing theft requires that production companies and crew recognize that their decisions have a direct impact on equipment security. For example, production decisions like leaving expensive equipment in unattended vehicles are major contributors to the problem.

“It’s only when everyone rental companies, producers, crew and equipment manufacturers work on this problem that we’ll see a reduction in this type of crime.”


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1 Response:

  1. Danys BRUYERE says:

    I’d be interested in knowing how much stolen gaffer tape rolls, gels, AC cords, hard drives, hot shots, foam core, plywood and 2X4s, drill bits, lipstick, triple wick candles, mars bars, soda bottles and dust off amount to…
    8M is peanuts…

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