RIO DE JANEIRO – A News Corp. photographer who had an estimated $40,000 worth of gear stolen from him in an Ipanema café found one piece of that equipment on a man who illegally entered the archery venue at the Rio Olympics on Saturday.
Brett Costello was entering the Sambodromo stadium for the men’s team competition with a new Olympics-issued photo vest when he noticed something odd about a man entering behind him at the security line. He was also wearing an official photo vest, but Costello thought the number on it looked familiar – it was the vest that was taken from him in a café on Thursday.
Costello was ordering coffee in the Kraft Café when a woman approached him, seeking help. But that was a distraction: During the conversation, her accomplices grabbed his large camera bag and ran to a waiting car where they sped away.
“She was speaking to me for about 10 seconds, not long at all. I was in shock,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “No one saw a thing, I couldn’t believe it, I was later told there was a getaway car outside. They work in numbers and they’re good at what they do unfortunately. The police weren’t overly surprised, there was a camera in the cafe but I don’t think that’s going to help.”
On Friday afternoon, he confronted the man wearing his stolen vest with the help of Rio Olympic personnel and local police. When faced with the fact that the man had entered the venue’s media area without a credential – an enormous security breach, by the way – he removed the vest and gave it to a Rio 2016 venue manager.
The man attempted to walk away, but he was detained by police while they questioned Costello.
Costello showed the police video he had on his phone of the theft – closed circuit security camera footage in which screenshots of it can be seen on the Daily Telegraph site – and noted that it matched both the man who had his vest and another man that had been detained by police at the venue.
The men had their hands placed behind their backs and were marched back to a secure area of the venue for questioning. Costello went back with them, cathartically snapping photographs of the alleged thief as he was walked by the police.
A Rio 2016 official at the venue confirmed to Yahoo Sports that the vest was in fact the one stolen from Costello and that the two men apprehended had been taken off-site. She offered no comment on their ability to enter the venue without a Rio 2016 credential.
Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski reports live from the streets of Rio: