A local television news reporter and photographer had their video camera and tripod stolen in a brazen daylight theft as they were doing a story on San Pablo Avenue on Monday afternoon, but their story still led the 5 p.m. broadcast.
"We're OK, we're just rattled," said NBC Bay Area reporter Jodi Hernandez.
They called 911 to report the 3 p.m. theft and police are investigating.
Hernandez and cameraman Rich Goudeau were in front of the Alameda County Social Services building at 2000 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland preparing to conduct interviews and gathering footage for a story on state budget cuts when a man ran up to the photographer from behind and swiped equipment before jumping into a car.
Hernandez was sitting in the news van parked on the street and the two wrote down a partial license plate number of the black getaway car.
"I could see someone run from behind and grab the whole tripod," said Hernandez, who estimated that the equipment weighs 45 pounds. "He ran to a waiting car and dove in. He couldn't get the camera off the tripod so the videocamera was sticking out the window when they drove away."
No one was injured.
All of the crew's interviews and footage from the day's work was on the memory card inside the stolen camera. They had less than two hours to rebuild the story from scratch.
A replacement photographer, Mykie Vang, rushed to the scene, shot new footage and interviews, and the crew made their deadline. The story aired at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
"It was so bold because (the suspect) literally ran up right next to (the photographer)," Hernandez said. "It could have gotten ugly. You never know how you are going to react in those types of situations."
This is the second time in recent weeks that NBC has had equipment stolen. In mid-April, police arrested three people suspected of a least a dozen vehicle burglaries between Interstate 880 and Doolittle Drive in early April. During that spree, an NBC van, parked in an Oakport Street commercial building parking lot, was broken into and a computer and other equipment were taken, police said. Police said they recovered property from some of the break-ins.
Earlier this month, an ABC television news reporter working on a fire story in San Francisco had a laptop computer stolen from the news van while a photographer was inside.
The computer was not recovered and no arrests have been made.