Sunday March 27th, Miami Open press room. At 12.30, I go for lunch in the next room. When I come back at 12.50, here’s what I find on my desk.
Both my Nikon D4S bodies have been stolen in the middle of the day, in a room full of journalists. The thieves took the time to the unscrew bodies apart from their lenses. A body is so much easier too hide in a bag…
Nobody saw anything. There is only one guard at the door to check the badges of the « hundreds » of people coming and going. Which means you need credentials to go in. You have to be a professional. No CCTV camera. Yesterday, about this, I was told it wasn’t possible to have one inside for privacy issues…!!!
On Tuesday night, at last, I was received by the tournament director, Adam Barrett. He told me coldly that « the company », IMG, is not responsible. Everyone in the building needs to take care of their own stuff. Me: « So you’re telling me, Mr Barrett, that if tomorrow someone steals Novak Djokovic’s rackets and all his stuff inside, you’ll tell him ‘sorry Novak, we can’t help you, you’re responsible’? » Mr Barrett looked uncomfortable but confirmed.
The security here is good and this incident will make the tournament even better, he told me.
On the ground level, there is a space for photographers (desks and lockers). Many of us prefer to have a desk in the press room on the 3rd floor because there was noone to check badges at the downstairs door. That door has no guard and can be entered by anyone, including spectators. It leads to the walkway that goes to the court, the players’ gym, quite a few of their spaces, etc.
Right, the security got better!
The tournament insurance? No way it’ll work. My insurance? In France, to insure my whole equipment each year in the whole world would cost many thousands of euros. I’m a freelancer. In 25 years, nothing has ever been stolen from me. I’m ready to take that risk. I’m ready to live with the consequences of my mistakes. When I make mistakes.
IMG seemingly can’t afford nor is interested to contribute to the cost of my stolen cameras.
Someone, with IMG credentials, in the press room, in the middle of the day, surrounded by journalists, took the time to unscrew lenses from my two Nikon D4S bodies et left with them. No one saw anything. And it’s my fault.
From victim, I become guilty.
This is not a mere computer or recorder. To be able to keep working, I need to buy. I two camera bodies, costing12000€.
To say I’m disgusted, sick, or mad is a euphemism.