Embedded Serial Number Helps Photographer Find His Stolen Camera

A photographer, John Heller, had $9,000 worth of gear stolen at a shoot in Hollywood. After giving up all hope of ever getting his Nikon D3 back, he checked with a site called GadgetTrak that scans Flickr and other image upload sites for photos matching the serial number of his DSLR.

In a few seconds he had found shots with serial numbers matching his D3 belonging to a professional photographer. With the help of the police he got his gear back and now the tracking service is a recommend site for LAPD detectives on the hunt for fugitive cameras.

Want to give it a try? You can search the service for free. It currently holds 10 million serial numbers and it checks sites like 500px.com and Flickr for recent shots. Also note that you should probably write down your camera’s serial number ASAP for this to work correctly at all.

A lot of these posts are a bit self serving but it’s great to see folks reunited with their gadgets so often these days (this tale of a stolen laptop is particularly stirring) that it makes me wonder why anyone tries to gank anything electronic anymore.