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,

This entry was posted in WXIA on by .

About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

9 thoughts on “Reporter v. criminal

  1. Dash Riptide

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

    5. Examine their equipment.

    Nice try.

  2. BudV

    The camera in the old picture is an Ikagami HL-33. Ikagami called it the “Handy Lookie.” It was my first ENG camera. I was once attacked by a giraffe while carrying it. The trousers look a lot like a pair I had during that era. I think I had a jacket to match. Thinking about it now, perhaps it was the outfit, not the camera, that frightened the giraffe.

  3. Randy Travis

    Looks like the photog in the photo has a big old knife tucked into his belt.

    Perhaps to deal with producers back in the newsroom?

  4. Mr. Bear

    Who cares about the camera? Let’s talk about the GMC News Cruiser in the background.

    It’s the 26′ long model, with a 455 265 HP V-8 mill, front wheel drive (from the Olds Toronado). Front disc brakes, with drums on the tandem back wheel sets that had GM bus air-ride bags for a smooth ride. The back wheel sets were independent, so there was no axle tunnel that you had to step over in the back. Which meant a low interior floor from front to back, giving a low center of gravity for fast turns. Well, as fast as you dare do in an RV. Aerodynamic styling coupled to the power meant that this news cruiser could step right along at an honest 70 mph; there were reports that it maxxed out around 100 mph.

    Depending upon configuration, you could have a complete kitchen, large bed in the back and a private toilet. There would still be room left for all the editing equipment that your heart desired.

    For its day, the GMC was really something, and a lot of them are still lovingly cared for to this day, just not in the news business. Certainly not your father’s Winnebago. And certainly not Charles Kuralt’s Clark Cortez.


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