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For those of us with an interest in social media, and who keep a close eye on feeds, you may have seen a distressing call for help from a photographer and a travelling model early on this past week, Julia Yaroshenko (Instagram ID @thejulia) and Joakim Karlsson (Instagram ID @joakim__Karlsson). 

We've all had e-mails out of the blue asking for help, or offers of $6m cash waiting for you in an account given by some prince from Africa, so naturally, being in the press you kind of stand back for a while and see how a situation pans out, before making a move.

THE PARIS HEIST

As a brief background, Joakim and Julia were due in Paris for a photo shoot, arrived at their hotel as normal a week ago, dumped their stuff down in the room, and then went out to buy some fruit and water; they were out for about 20 minutes.

On arrival back to the room, they found that all of their camera equipment and related computer equipment had been stolen from their room. The thieves stole everything, camera, macbooks, lenses, and cash; absolutely everything.

The thieves did leave both passports, however.

Given the swift nature of the theft, the only logical conclusion is, that it was an inside job. We've had experience of this kind of situation in the past, and aside from potentially ruining a trip in its entirety, it's a devastating event that leaves you with a feeling that someone has invaded your personal space - and more importantly for Joakim and Julia - stolen their means of earning a living on the trip, and it’s not an occurrence that leaves a thought process after a trip, that we can assure you of.

After a day or so, and seeing the running commentary on the notification post in the image below, we contacted Joakim via his website (which you can see here), and suggested he might like to let the hotel owner know that the international arts press is interested in this story and, interested in nailing the scum who perpetrated this crime.

Screen Shot 2018 04 28 at 23.39.35 copy

By this time, the story had gone viral, and comments online were building up on various platforms. Basically the hotel should have co-operated transparently and immediately. A break-in within the first twenty minutes of arrival is not something that can happen without some form of inside information. The hotel staff obfuscated and played games, and this caused for the instagram ‘cry for help’, which pretty much went viral straight away. Julia has some 420k followers and Joakim has some 82k followers, and that's a pretty big and loyal audience to send a message to, with the kind of digital response that the hotel and its owner were probably not expecting, in a million years.

Essentially, this is an example of what the new media arena can do, and for hotels, it is a clear and striking wake up call of what they need to do when an event like this happens, that being, protect your clients, the most important facet of your business.

Obviously the hotel owner didn’t want bad press and, according to Joakim, the owner of the Tilde Hotel had just spent some 25k euros on marketing after acquiring the hotel in late December of last year, with a mission of raising the reputation of the hotel and turning it round, in terms of reputation. So this was probably the worst thing that could have happened, but that’s no reason to continually obfuscate, right up until Friday evening when the owner still maintained that a guest in the room next door carried out the theft.

Unbelievably, Joakim was told by hotel staff that he must have left his room door open, he was told that it was the man in the room next door who hadn’t had his ID checked, and he was told that there were no key logs available, on numerous occasions. These kinds of excuses become unreal and totally unbelievable when you’ve just been robbed. That feeling of helplessness and complete blocking by hotel staff is debilitating.

To his credit, however, the owner of the hotel did provide Joakim with a product sheet for the handles used in the hotel, which was sent to AAD. We called and wrote to the distributor of the handles immediately, and found that there are indeed key logs with these handles. In fact, there is record of the last four hundred openings on the handles, so basically, the hotel and more importantly, the crooked receptionist were nailed, and it’s no wonder the receptionist played games, when confronted.

 Screen Shot 2018 04 27 at 20.36.59Handle records last 400 openings

In conversation with Joakim, he did have some guilt in so far as publicising immediately on instagram what had happened, which obviously put the news out there far and wide instantly, but, the hotel should have come down on this straight away, and they only have themselves to blame for the apparent cover up mentality.

The receptionist has been suspended; Joakim suggests that he will possibly get half the value (15k euros) of the equipment stolen under insurance. He’s lost all his back ups, disks, photo cards etc. etc. A nightmare for a photographer, if ever there was one.

A police report was filed almost immediately, and Joakim is quite prepared to press charges, he’s only an hour and half flight away, and is based in Sweden. Now, it moves back to the hotel and their willingness to restore their own reputation by seeing that member of staff who was in on this incident, have the full force of the law in Paris come down on him in order to set an example for any receptionist with the kind of access to guest data which can be used for this form of criminal activity.

This is not a singular theft event, it is something that has happened to a number of photographers according to Joakim, and it seems to be a modus-operandi for crooked receptionists both in Paris, and farther afield.

Screen Shot 2018 04 26 at 23.42.00From Julia Yaroshenko's Instagram page

We happen to love their work, and look forward to seeing more exceptional photography on both Instagram pages.

Julia’s next photo shoot is in Denmark, which you can read more about here

Joakim has a workshop starting in Austria shortly, which you can read more about here

Screen Shot 2018 04 01 at 21.45.30

If you have any similar news or events for reporting on, you can contact us here.

Screen Shot 2018 04 01 at 21.45.30

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About the Author

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee founded his antique business in 1994. Having bought his first Antique piece at the tender age of eleven, it has since then been his passion for Antiques, Fine Art, and aesthetically beautif...