Positive power of social media helps return stolen camera


posted Monday, November 2, 2015 at 2:11 PM EDT


While visiting Seattle with his wife, New Orleans-based professional photographer and real estate agent Anthony Posey accidentally left his camera in the downtown Seattle Public Library. Although he realized his mistake within a few minutes, the camera and the 1,700 images on the card were gone.

Within these 1,700 images were wedding photos that Mr. Posey had photographed for a client and around 1,500 images of Mr. Posey and his wife Crystal Craddock-Posey's trip to Seattle. Mr. Posey's Sony Alpha 37 camera and invaluable images looked to be gone forever. Not feeling hopeful that the stolen camera could be found, Mr. Posey did not file a police report. However, he did try his luck and posted about his lost camera on craigslist.com.

Sony Alpha 37

Despite a police report not being filed, the Seattle Police Department had recovered a camera in an undercover street buy and wanted to find the owner. Operating under an independent monitor since 2012, the Seattle Police Department has continually worked to improve its public relations. Solving property crimes like the theft of Mr. Posey's camera can go a long way towards improving the public image of the department. Using social media such as Twitter and a crime blotter blog on the department's website, the Seattle PD works with the community to bring attention to crimes that may have previously slipped through the cracks.

Seattle Police cruiser. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

A Seattle police detective posted a wedding image from the card in Mr. Posey's camera to the social networking site, Nextdoor.com, to try and track down the owner of the camera. On October 22nd, a nextdoor.com user connected the dots between Mr. Posey's craigslist post and the police detective's nextdoor.com post and Mr. Posey's camera and priceless images were returned to him. No question about it, the cooperation of the police and the public to return Mr. Posey's camera to him is a testament to the power of social media, and reflects very well on the Seattle police department as well. Hopefully it's advice you'll never need, but if you are unlucky enough to lose a camera, perhaps getting social could be the key to its return!

(Seen via the New York TimesSeattle Police patch image courtesy of Connor395 / Flickr. Seattle Police cruiser image courtesy of Zeraien / Wikimedia Commons. Both images used under a Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0 license, and have been modified from the originals.)