Daily Archives: April 8, 2011

Reporter v. criminal

Following Tuesday’s storm, a resident of Lilburn reported that two men posing as reporters burglarized her house.  They showed up at her home, identifying themselves as news media personnel.  The woman obligingly gave them a tour of her storm-damaged home.   Hours later, the home was burglarized.

Here are five ways to check for the difference between a TV crew and a burglary crew.

5.  Examine their equipment.  If the equipment looks new and unscratched, there’s a good chance it belongs to thieves who probably stole the equipment.  If the gear is worn and scratched and discolored, it probably belongs to a TV station.

4.  Ask them where they work.  Don’t settle for “I work at the newspaper,” or “I work at 11 Alive.”  Ask the address.  If it’s a TV station, ask them the call letters.  Nobody refers to TV stations by their call letters anymore.

3.  Look for fashion trends.  If their clothing is au courant, if it would look appropriate in the latest catalogues, then be very wary.  Though there are notable exceptions, very few people in the news media wear clothing that is actually fashionable.

2.  Give them a current events quiz.  Ask them to name Georgia’s two US Senators, or the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia.   If you don’t know their names, that’s OK.  Look it up before you let the news crew in your house.  If they can’t answer, call 911 immediately.

1.  Examine their credentials.  We all carry around stuff that looks like this.  Almost none of it adheres to any kind of standard, like a drivers license.  Truth is, anybody with a computer and a printer and some plastic and string can make stuff that looks like this.  But odds are, a burglar won’t think to do it.  So ask.  Make sure the photos match.  Then as a backup, ask for a driver’s license.

It turned out that the news crew that visited the Lilburn woman’s house was an authentic freelance crew hired by ABC News.  The looter who showed up later was unrelated, police said.

The 1976 WESH minicam photo was swiped from Amanda Emily’s vintage news site, feedingthebeast.info