Caught on video: Photographers robbed of $7,000 in gear while stuck in traffic in San Francisco
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Caught on video: Photographers robbed of $7,000 in gear while stuck in traffic in San Francisco

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Real estate photographers Ben Barghabany and Mahsa Tighi of HomeShots experienced a photographer’s worst nightmare, having their gear stolen. The pair of photographers were sitting in traffic in San Francisco when, in broad daylight, a robber smashed their back window and grabbed a bag of equipment.

Barghabany and Tighi, who work together as husband and wife, had been on a shoot near Dolores Park on Friday afternoon. ABC7 reports that after leaving the park, the pair were waiting to get on the Interstate 80 onramp.

At around 4:30 p.m., a Honda Accord drove up next to the Ben and Mahsa’s Toyota Prius as it slowly crept in traffic. A passenger on the Honda’s driver’s side exited the vehicle, quickly went up to the Prius, and smashed the rear window to grab the equipment bag from the trunk. Bag in hand, the thief rushed back to the getaway vehicle, and the Honda Accord sped off down the road.

A silver lining for the pair of photographers is that at least the crime was caught on camera. The crime, which only took about 10 seconds, was recorded by a camera in the vehicle behind Barghabany and Tighi. The witness, Alex, drives a Tesla with a built-in dashboard camera, TeslaCam. Alex pulled over to exchange contact information with the victims. You can view the incident, as recorded by Alex’s TeslaCam, below.

ABC7’s Dion Lim spoke with Ben and Mahsa. Mahsa, who was driving the vehicle, had previously taken note of the dark-colored Honda Accord following them after leaving Dolores Park. The thieves may have watched the couple taking photos and observed where the gear was placed in the vehicle when they packed up.

In total, Ben estimates that the bag had about $7,000 worth of equipment. Speaking to PetaPixel, he said that the camera bag included a Nikon Z6, Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens, DJI Mavic Air 2, DJI Ronin SC, Flashpoint speedlight, filters, memory cards, and other small items and accessories.

Among the gear stolen is a Nikon Z6 camera

Hopefully, with the aid of Alex’s footage, police will be able to track down the criminals. While the thieves may simply be too careless to hide their license plate before committing daytime robbery, the vehicle might not be theirs in the first place. Further, even if police locate the robbers, that doesn’t guarantee that Ben and Mahsa will get their gear back.

It’s not clear if the gear was insured, but the pair have taken to GoFundMe to try to get their business quickly back up and running. So far, nearly 130 generous people have donated a total of $4,300 to Ben and Mahsa, which nearly reaches the $4,500 donation goal.

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