A Bay Area photographer who was followed home from the Golden Gate Bridge to the East Bay and robbed, has a warning for fellow picture takers and a demand for camera manufacturers.
Louis was arriving home from Fremont after taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands when he was robbed by two men police say followed him home from the viewpoint.
“I notice two guys approach my car, one guy knocks on my window, I knew it was gonna be bad. He had a mask and gloves. He asked where the freeway was,” said the photographer.
One man smashed his rear window and stole his camera bag while the man at his window ran toward the getaway car.
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Louis put his car in drive.
“I chased after them unwisely. So I impacted their car to interrupt the getaway. That's where I saw the gun pointed at me,” he said.
One shot was fired as his family came running out.
No one was hurt, but Louis is shaken and says he knows other amateur photographers who have been targeted for their gear.
“Some of them have been pepper sprayed, taken to the ground just for taking pictures. This has to stop,” he said.
Wedding photographers have lost everything in car break-ins and real estate photographers have been robbed in traffic.
Photography experts said it’s not just a Bay Area problem.
“The first thing people did was warn us about the risk of robbery,” said Tony Northrup, who has more than a million followers on his YouTube page focused on photography. “It's definitely a problem there in San Francisco but it's a worldwide problem.”
Louis has started a petition calling on camera manufacturers to include anti-theft technology in their products.
“Tell camera manufacturers to implant anti-theft technology. Crime is not a new thing, used to be cell phones now we have pin numbers, trackers,” said Louis.
While he focuses on the big picture, police are investigating the armed robbery.
Fremont police arrested one suspect, 35-year-old Daron McClinton. Police said he was on federal probation for robbing a photographer in San Francisco in 2015.