Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Stolen Leicas: Be on your guard for dodgy merchandise

Stolen Leicas: Be on your guard for dodgy merchandise

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Dear LHSA members and friends,

As you may have heard, three Leica Stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York were broken into and items were looted during the recent protests. In addition, long-term Leica Dealers like Central Camera in Chicago and Service Photo Supply in Baltimore were also looted. 

Our thoughts go out to all who were impacted, including Don Flesch of Central Camera, which was opened 121 years ago, and Eli Kurland of Leica Store NY (SOHO) who has been involved in Leica sales for decades.

Leica Camera US is working with dealers to compile a list of serial numbers of equipment stolen.  Police reports and other documentation are in process, but no list is available yet. Leica Camera will flag all stolen items in its system and the police will be notified if any item is sent into Customer Care for repair. When and if Leica makes available a list of serial numbers, we will post it here.

If you are offered Leica merchandise (new or used) by a seller unknown to you, it is a good idea to ask for documentation like a receipt before proceeding with any transaction.  And of course, if you are offered a deal that appears “too good to be true,” it very well may be too good to be true and you should be especially careful, lest you buy stolen goods.

Thank you,

LHSA – The International Leica Society

2 COMMENTS

  1. This is a very sad story, as I know many of the people at those stores personally for many years. I have seen reports that over $500K was stolen from the SOHO store alone. I have also seen videos of the break in at the Leica Store SOHO, and it appears the store was specifically targeted, and not looted randomly. The thieves knew what Leica is, and knew what to steal. Others followed who were opportunists after the initial break in.

    I have known Don Flesch for decades back to when I had my own store, so that is a real blow as we live in the same city and his store was an icon and semi-museum to over 100 years of photography.

    Some of the initial reactions to the looting were, well their businesses are insured, what are they complaining about? What a cavalier attitude! In the case of Don at Central, who is the third generation running this business, it is not only his life’s work but that of his father and grandfather as well. Insurance won’t even begin to compensate for this.

    Various Facebook Leica groups have been reporting suspicious listings on eBay, where as you said, they were too good to be true. Items like a like new 35/1.4 Summilux FLE without box or papers that was “a gift”. Buyer beware, and again a sad commentary on our times and the human race in general.

    • This is a sad inditement of our times unfortunately, and there seems to always be a criminal element sitting in the wings to make the most of an opportunity to make more ill gotten gains.

      I feel for those private businesses that have been treated in this way alongside Leica. I know I hoped they were insured, and made comments to that affect, but appreciate that doesn’t make up for the loss, the emotional drain of being victims of a callous crime, or the loss of history, love and involvement the people behind those stores put in. For me it was about being pragmatic from a business sense, as it at least allows them to rebuild.

      Hopefully the Police with Leica’s support on missing serial numbers will help narrow down the culprits and hold them to account. That just takes time. But should bring results over time, never quick enough for those of us in our arm chairs I know, but it should. That and a little help from the community to steer the right people towards the perps for this one. After all its not the easiest stock to shift, given Leicas attention to detail, the knowledge of prices, used prices and serial numbers that Leica would always know.

      If you see something for a steal of a price, then it probably is stolen.

      Keep safe guys, and fingers crossed that some folk are held to account for these unwarranted events.

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