Olympics photographer robbed of $40,000 in equipment in 10 seconds

The Beach Volleyball Arena is in the heart of the famous Copacabana beach. This Olympic venue has one main court for competitions, plus courts for training and warm ups. (Reuters)
Copacabana Beach. (Reuters)

We’ve heard for years how Rio might not be the safest place on earth, but here’s an idea of how fast trouble can find you: An Australian photographer lost $40,000 worth of equipment in just 10 seconds.

Brett Costello, on assignment for NewsCorp, was in a coffee shop in Ipanema, near Copacabana, when a woman struck up a conversation with him in Portuguese. As he chatted with her, an accomplice of the woman snagged Costello’s bag and disappeared into a departing vehicle. Total time for the scam: 10 seconds.

“I’m gutted and I feel stupid that I wasn’t wise to their plan,” Costello said. “I know that I’ll probably never see my bag or gear again. And as disappointing as that is, I take solace that I wasn’t injured or hurt. It only took 10 seconds, but even that is enough to remind the thousands of tourists and media here in Rio for the games to never let down your guard.”

[Related: Report: Over 1,000 U.S. spies in Rio to protect Games, American contingent]

Here’s some of Costello’s work, presumably with the now-vanished hardware:

[Via Larry Brown Sports]

Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski reports live from the streets of Rio:

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.