Not Again?! Thieves Rip Off Another San Francisco News Crew

Once again another news crew in San Francisco was robbed of their gear in Oakland.

Thieves broke into a KTVU news van parked in Oakland and stole camera equipment over the weekend, the latest in a spate of crimes targeting the media, authorities said.

SF Gate says that the theft happened after Reporter Katie Utehs and photojournalist Jacob Unger parked their van in a lot at 35th Avenue and East 12th Street in the Fruitvale District about 10:45 a.m. Sunday to cover an event, sources said. When they returned to the van, they found that someone had smashed the locks on the passenger side and stolen a LiveU portable camera-backpack system used for live broadcasting, a laptop computer, a tripod and other gear.

The episode is the latest in a spate of holdups or burglaries targeting the media in Oakland, some in the middle of the day. In one incident, a robber grabbed a camera during a live noon broadcast.

In response, several TV stations, including KPIX, KRON and KGO, have hired security guards to accompany reporters and camera operators in Oakland. Many of the guards are retired police officers.

KTVU does not automatically send security guards out with its crews, but employees who are concerned about their safety can request the escorts, several KTVU staffers said.

One employee who didn’t wish to be identified said “We are afraid,” in light of recent confrontations involving the media. “Our crews continue to be crime victims.”