PERG, the Production Equipment Rental Group is a trade group made up of professional camera and lighting rental companies. They have established a new effort known as “Rental Guard” to push back against the rampant equipment theft that has recently been plaguing our industry.
In 2016 alone, a total of $8,757,818 of professional motion picture camera equipment was reported stolen. This means individuals purchasing equipment on the used market are at risk of finding themselves in possession of stolen goods. There have been several recent incidents where people found themselves in this position and had no choice but to return the gear to the rightful owner at a significant personal loss. A person who tries to sell such equipment could be guilty of a felony.
RENTAL GUARD (missingequipment.org) is the equipment rental community’s response to the theft epidemic. It is an online database and alert system for missing gear. Its purpose is to make it harder to sell stolen gear, and easier to catch someone doing so. It helps catch the bad guys, but other people can sometimes get caught in the trap too. As a precaution, it is highly recommended that before purchasing equipment, the buyer get the serial numbers and check them on the RENTAL GUARD database, a free industry service. Although RENTAL GUARD was developed for professional rental companies, if an individual suffers the loss of a major piece of serial-numbered, professional equipment like a lens or camera body, he or she should report it to RENTAL GUARD immediately. This offers the best chance for recovery and forewarns potential buyers that the equipment is hot.
If you find yourself working with gear that is listed as stolen, snap a picture showing the serial number. Find the item on RENTAL GUARD and click REPORT A MATCH.
Equipment theft hurts everyone: it hurts camera crews, cinematographers, the productions, and the equipment suppliers. It raises insurance rates. It removes hard-to-replace equipment from the market. Some rare and vintage glass is simply one of a kind and totally irreplaceable.
DCS Members are encouraged to join in this industry-wide effort. www.missingequipment.org