Photographer losses camera gears, client’s wedding photos in recent car break-in in San Francisco

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It was supposed to be a one-day trip to San Francisco for photographer Ashtynn Wilhite from Alabama.

But almost all of the photos she took at a wedding were wiped out after her car was broken into last Sept. 21 near the Painted Ladies. The disaster, which happened between 7 to 7:30 in the evening, took away his camera gear costing around $15, 000.

“We had such a phenomenal day there, and all of a sudden it was just ripped away,” Wilhite shared to SFGATE. “It was so sad.”

Her clients, Alex and Tyler Hammel, were married early this month in Birmingham, Alabama. A $2,000 reward was offered by the couple to get their photographs back. Wilhite, on the other hand, also gave a $5,000 reward for her laptop and the hard drive returned.

The photographer was set to have an engagement shoot for another couple in San Francisco when the disaster happened. They agreed to come to Alamo Square for the shoot after moving around and getting photographs around San Francisco.

Wilhite has settled the camera equipment she brought with her assistance at the back seat of the car as the trunk was already occupied. She covered it with sheets and headed to the nearby Alamo Square for the shoot.

“I saw the glass but it didn’t really hit me,” she said. “I thought something broke. I got out of the car, and the window was shattered. Then it hit me somebody stole our gear.”

The photographer said she “immediately went into shock,” and cried as she fell to her knees.

Wilhite said she alerted the police and was instructed to contact 311 and to submit a report online. It was the same direction she got when she went to SFPD headquarters to file the report in person.

“This kind of stuff doesn’t really happen where we’re from,” she shared. “If something like this did happen, the police would be more intrigued to help. But in San Francisco, they’re like this happens every day, sucks to suck. There’s really nothing they can do, it’s such a big city.”

The good thing was that the photographer managed to send some wedding “sneak peek” to the Hamels shortly after their wedding. Now, only around 50 photos were left to her from the couple’s special event.

“I don’t normally do that,” Wilhite said. “I gave them a significantly large sneak peek back because their wedding day was so amazing. I came straight home and edited some. It was a good thing.”