Photographer Robbed of $40,000 Worth of Gear at Rio 2016 Olympics

Image of a robbery dramatized with Legos

Back when discussions were going on about where will the 2016 Olympics be held, Brazil was a rising power in the world – everything was going well for Brazil. No one saw the political turmoil that would be happening during the Rio 2016 Olympics. There’s the fall of worldwide oil prices, a huge corruption scandal and very questionable impeachment proceedings of the country’s president. What that all leads to is a perfect storm of bad economic conditions for the average Brazilian – leading to occurrences like what was seen earlier in the week of the Rio Olympics, when News Corp photographer Brett Costello was robbed of $40,000 worth of photography equipment.

Costello was sitting in a café in one of Rio’s safer neighborhoods, the famous Ipanema. A woman working with the thieves goes up to talk to and distract Costello while her accomplices steal Costello’s camera bag and make a run for it.

When he runs to chase after the thief, another person “working” with them points him in the wrong direction. By the time he turns around realizing that that wasn’t the way the thief went, the group has already fled.

You can see what happened in the footage below:

While it’s unfortunate that Costello lost such a large and expensive amount of gear, the bright side is that he wasn’t threatened and wasn’t hurt in any way. Rio is a beautiful place but can be a violent place unfortunately.

I’ve lived in Rio for three years now and the sad fact is is that when taking your gear anywhere you have to be very discreet and keep an eye on your photography equipment at all times.

Here’s Costello’s thoughts on the incident:

I guess that’s what you get when you work for News Corp, the parent company of propaganda machine Fox News! Just kidding – no one deserves to have their gear stolen.

Hopefully there’s a good resolution to this story but it would be extremely difficult for Costello to recover that equipment once it’s gone. To any of the other Olympic photographers out there: good luck, be safe and keep aware of your surroundings!