Teajay, Miami Photographer, Robbed of Recovers $1,500 in Camera Gear Stolen at Churchill's Pub

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Via Churchill's Pub security camera
The thief walking with Teajay's photo gear bag in hand.

Beware Miami, there's a hipster grinch out thieving in the clubs.

On Friday night, professional photographer Teajay Smith Piersall was robbed of $1,500 worth of camera gear, stolen from a bag at her feet in Churchill's Pub.

UPDATE Thanks to DigUnderRock.com, the music community, Facebook, and Churchill's security tapes, she's gotten it all back.

We spoke to Teajay about how it happened.

See also: Juke's Evan Lamb Has $60,000 Worth of Gear Stolen, Help Catch the Crooks

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General sound booth area where the theft took place.

Crossfade: So, what happened?
Teajay Smith Piersall: I was at the Deaf Poets tour kickoff show Friday night, which was awesome by the way, and I had been keeping my photo bag on my body because of theft issues in the past. But it was hurting because of a bike accident, so I took it off and put it down next to my sister. We were in that dark little area right in front of the sound booth eating Ms Cheezious, and the next thing I know, it's gone.

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via Churchill's Pub security camera
That's Teajay, grilled cheese sandwich in hand, behind the thief in lower right-hand corner of the image.

Any leads?
I've seen the security video. The guy was looking around all over the floor for something to steal and he swooped in right in front of me, grabbed it, and held it right in front of him as he walked away.

What happened next?
I noticed it was gone pretty quick. And we went around right away looking for anybody suspicious. I told Nicky Bowe, the manager, "Someone stole my bag!" And he turned the lights up in the middle of the Deaf Poets set to look for it. I started screaming at him for interrupting them and he got kind of pissed at me. I must have looked like a lunatic, like you do when you lose some shit....

Did you recognize the thief from the surveillance?
He's not familiar to me, but it's obvious he's familiar to people there. When he walked out the door with my bag on the video you can see that someone calls out to him and he motions like "oh I gotta go," and makes his way to the parking lot.

That's all the footage shows?
No, earlier he was also up by the stage where everybody dances and stuff, looking nervous, and it's totally the fuckin' dude! And right before he stole the bag, he was out back by the bar lookin' in all the corners. My friend Eddie Moreno was talkin' to this girl, and the guy is lurkin' around behind her starin' her bag down as she's holding it on her shoulder. This was not his first rodeo, this guy makes stealing a habit it for sure.

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Close-up of the perp.

What's he look like?
Standard hipster dude....I sent the picture to a couple of people, nobody has a real solid opinion on who it is.

Why don't you release the footage or a still from it?
Let's put it this way, I really wanna kind of let him have the chance to come forward. I'm a little bit concerned that if someone recognizes him, that he might get hurt. And I'm not for that.

But he deserves it!
God forbid they beat up the wrong fuckin' hipster 'cause everybody looks the same now. Are they gonna beat up everybody with a prepubescent mustache?

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via Teajay Photo

What was stolen?
A Nikon D3100, a 35mm 1.8 lens that I love, a second lens for backup, my phone, and my wallet.

What's the value?
Everything brand new when I bought it, $1,500.

That fuckin' sucks!
It's just so inconvenient, the whole thing. Right now, I'm getting ready to be hosting 35 people for Thanksgiving dinner. I have friends who bring over their whole families. And now I have to deal with this?

I really have no idea why you're protecting the identity of a scumbag thief?
If it turns out to be a musician, I'm gonna walk up to that bitch and take his shit away from him in front of the whole fuckin crowd. And if he doesn't come forward in a week I'm gonna put all the footage and stills out.

Did you file a police report?
Yes, I did.

Do you shoot for fun or profit?
This is how I make my living. I photograph music for my own fun, although sometimes I'm hired by bands, but this shoot was for the love. I make most of my money from non-profits, and portrait work. This is the heart of the season for me. This is how I make money to buy my kids Christmas presents. I'm very fortunate to have a loaner camera from a friend that happens to be the exact same lens and body that I'm used to so that I can continue to work, but this is very distracting.

Yo, you have an amazingly positive outlook and ability to keep things in perspective in light of the fact that you're looking out for somebody who was probably not stealing to feed their kids or anything like that. You should really put out the footage, I'm trying to help you here.
I feel pretty strongly about giving him a chance. But if they don't come forward, I'll put them out there, one week from today. If I had run across them that night, it would have been a different story. I was so mad.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.


Location Info

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Churchill's Pub

5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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