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Thread: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

  1. #21
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by sjssf View Post
    I would bet there would be an army of volunteers who would be willing to help. I noticed a lot of vendors eating at their booth, with food right on the pens sometimes. it would be great to have a team of volunteers who could roam and help as needed. I think fountain pen people in particular would love to do this.
    Alas, I suspect it is a pen person responsible for the thefts, perhaps another vendor accustomed to selecting and selling such things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fermata View Post
    ...Still trying to think how you would steal a whole tray of pens froms Sarj's stand and walk away with no one noticing, meaning visitors, sellers, security, admission staff.
    Below the front edge of a vendor's table, one could drop the whole tray into one of those free pen show bags, casually leave, recover the pens and dispose of the tray. It's sad to speculate on such things, but we must be vigilant and prepared. I'll have a large locking display case on the table at Baltimore that I haven't used in years. It'll be a PITA.

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    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Organizers of pen shows and pen sellers should talk to organizers of gem shows and gem sellers. A gem the size of a lima bean can be worth hundreds of high-end fountain pens. High security protocols already exist; there's no need to reinvent the wheel.
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    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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  4. #23
    Senior Member grainweevil's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Lockable display cases are the obvious solution, but not terribly convenient and, I would assume a costly investment for some sellers. I was wondering if a "sneeze guard" type of thing at the front of sellers' tables might be helpful in a low tech way? It'd limit the ease with which someone could take a pen or tray of pens, and make it much more likely they'd be spotted if they tried, but still leave the pens open to the wondering eyes of honest show goers.

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    Senior Member Ray-VIgo's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    It's a trade-off. The more accessible booths tend to get more customers, but they also have more security issues. If all your pens are under glass and locked, you don't get as many "casual buyers" - people who browse and then something catches their eye, they pick it up to examine, and then buy. I've bought a few pens that way - I just happened to see them on a table, picked them up and decided I wanted to buy. The really casual people tend to pass by the stuff that's under glass and lock, at least in my experience.

    Theft from pen shows is unfortunate, but sadly not unexpected. You've got valuable small items and a large number of people passing. There's a couple thieves in every crowd of that size. I guess you triage - really high end and rare stuff under glass, and then the under $50 stuff on the table top.

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  8. #25
    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray-VIgo View Post
    I guess you triage - really high end and rare stuff under glass, and then the under $50 stuff on the table top.
    I think this is the way to go.

    My friend owns two jewellers stores. Everything is under glass. If you want to look at something on a tray then that tray is brought out from inside the glass case, and the vendor is standing directly facing you while you look at an item. If you want to see something from another tray, the first one goes back inside the case.

    On the other hand, despite her having many safe and secure measures, someone once leaned right over the glass top to the other side and nicked a tray out from inside it then left the shop. They caught it on camera but the police weren't interested.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    We should also take a pause for a moment...

    As (I believe) that none of us in the discussion are active sellers/traders/vendors (as well as most of the people in convos on other forums), we are only speaking as outsiders. While I think some combination or sweet spot of many of the suggestions made so far will make sense, they are also going to place an enormous impact on these people.

    Think of someone who has two tables at a pen show. Almost all of them will have the pens in soft cases, maybe 46-60 pens a case, that have been zippered, folded up, and placed in some manner of suitcase or hardshell case to transport to the show, including the ground transport to and from venues and home. Just altering the cases so that there are covers (plexiglass or glass (hardly)) and possibly hard-framed cases, as well as any other security paraphernalia, is going to have a huge impact on their ability to take their wares to the shows. It adds weight, size, cost and complexity to their efforts, so the solutions are going to have to be thought about long and hard by the people who will use them and be impacted by them.

    I know we're just brainstorming, but if changes are going to occur it is going to be an awkward transition, and they'll need our support.
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Volunteer spotters. Generally opportunist thieves are deterred if they think anyone is paying attention. The sellers are focussed perhaps on individual transactions, but the spotters would be watching the whole table. Fairly simple set up.
    The thief would, I am sure, be among the first to volunteer. In the same way arsonists are quick to join rural/volunteer fire brigades...
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    I was going to say, there is a good probability that the thief was a vendor at the store or a semi expert

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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Volunteer spotters. Generally opportunist thieves are deterred if they think anyone is paying attention. The sellers are focussed perhaps on individual transactions, but the spotters would be watching the whole table. Fairly simple set up.
    The thief would, I am sure, be among the first to volunteer. In the same way arsonists are quick to join rural/volunteer fire brigades...

    Then, paid security. The cost would be easily offset by adding a single dollar to the entrance fee.
    I most locals enough paid security to cover a ballroom filled with 5-600 people would be more than an added dollar.

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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Might I suggest that there may be a partial solution to this problem. Wyze cams. A vendor could install a couple (or as many as felt necessary) to cover his tables. They're cheap at about 30 dollars, adding an micro SD card would add another 10 dollars. They're easily accessible by smartphone or tablet at the show. Adding the SD card allows continual recording and playback.

    Check Amazon for the best prices and more info.

    For about 120 dollars you have three recording cameras that will continually capture whatever they're pointing at. I have nine in various locations inside and outside my home that I can check from anywhere and have been going strong without failure for over 16 months.

    Avoid the Wyze Pan cams - they're not as reliable as the Wyze V2 cams.

    Frankly this seems to be a no-brainer to protect your investment. Posting a small notice at your table that cams are recording would make a would-be thief think twice.

    Cheers!

    Sg
    Last edited by sgphoto; February 21st, 2020 at 07:08 AM. Reason: early morning spelling without coffee

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by sgphoto View Post
    Might I suggest that there may be a partial solution to this problem. Wyze cams.
    Aha. And then what?

    One has to have cooperative law enforcement, an interest in apprehension, recovery and legal action against the culprits. All your suggestion does is potentially capture images of the thief or thieves. Whether or not that is a deterrent remains to be seen, as there are thousands of packages stolen off of porches, captured on video, that are never seen again.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Aha. And then what?...
    If the theory is accurate that we can expect the perpetrator to be a fellow pen vendor or collector, and an image is captured recognizable to fellow vendors or collectors, I suspect the proverbial shit will hit the fan, with or without law enforcement.

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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    The camera provides evidence. Much better than nothing, conflicting eye witnesses if anyone actually saw something, and waiting for law enforcement to get excited about some stolen pens. With videos you have something tangible.

  24. #34
    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Aha. And then what?...
    If the theory is accurate that we can expect the perpetrator to be a fellow pen vendor or collector, and an image is captured recognizable to fellow vendors or collectors, I suspect the proverbial shit will hit the fan, with or without law enforcement.
    I don't happen to subscribe to that theory. I think it is from outside "the community".
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; February 21st, 2020 at 01:01 PM.

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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Aha. And then what?...
    If the theory is accurate that we can expect the perpetrator to be a fellow pen vendor or collector, and an image is captured recognizable to fellow vendors or collectors, I suspect the proverbial shit will hit the fan, with or without law enforcement.
    I don't happen to subscribe to that theory. I think it is from outside "the community".
    It's someone who is knowledgeable about pens and values. Like most murders, it's usually 'family' as I don't think organized crime is targeting pen shows.

    It's someone who is a collector, another vendor, or someone who knows the layout well enough to be comfortable enough to invisibly move about. Someone or often a couple of people working together. One to be a lookout and/or distract, the other to make the steal.

    In law enforcement you first eliminate family members as the perpetrators.

    Pro-active always beats reactive. I'd rather stop a theft by conspicuous cameras than try to determine who the thief was after the fact.

    YMMV.

    Cheers.

    Sg
    Last edited by sgphoto; February 21st, 2020 at 01:20 PM.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by sgphoto View Post
    It's someone who is knowledgeable about pens and values. Like most murders, it's usually 'family' as I don't think organized crime is targeting pen shows.
    But you have no way of knowing that. It's easy to say, and to assume, but it is nothing more than a hunch. One look at the tray shows a lot of shiny, an easy target for a person with no pen knowledge.

    It's someone who is a collector, another vendor, or someone who knows the layout well enough to be comfortable enough to invisibly move about. Someone or often a couple of people working together. One to be a lookout and/or distract, the other to make the steal.
    The theft occurred on the first day of a new location/venue for the pen show. None of the vendors 'knew' the layout more than a couple hours beforehand.

    Pro-active always beats reactive. I'd rather stop a theft by conspicuous cameras than try to determine who the thief was after the fact.
    I can't really argue with that. The issue is how best to make this happen, and how it would all be paid for and operated. One of the biggest aspects of the recent hits at pen shows is grasping the possibility that things really are changing and what has been ok in the past won't be in the future. I don't necessarily think, like some do, that tech is always the answer. It might be, in some of these situations.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post

    But you have no way of knowing that. It's easy to say, and to assume, but it is nothing more than a hunch. One look at the tray shows a lot of shiny, an easy target for a person with no pen knowledge.



    It's someone who is a collector, another vendor, or someone who knows the layout well enough to be comfortable enough to invisibly move about. Someone or often a couple of people working together. One to be a lookout and/or distract, the other to make the steal.
    The theft occurred on the first day of a new location/venue for the pen show. None of the vendors 'knew' the layout more than a couple hours beforehand.



    Pro-active always beats reactive. I'd rather stop a theft by conspicuous cameras than try to determine who the thief was after the fact.
    I can't really argue with that. The issue is how best to make this happen, and how it would all be paid for and operated. One of the biggest aspects of the recent hits at pen shows is grasping the possibility that things really are changing and what has been ok in the past won't be in the future. I don't necessarily think, like some do, that tech is always the answer. It might be, in some of these situations.
    11 years in law enforcement, 5 as a detective makes my suspicions of "family" more than a hunch. I might be wrong, but odds are in my favor this was not an "outside" hit.

    Most pen shows are all the same. The location doesn't matter. Who better than "family" to know how these events happen?

    Who pays for the technology and who operates it? It would be paid for by those individuals wanting to protect their merchandise. I'm betting the fellow who had his pens taken now wishes he had cameras and a notice advising he had cameras. Thieves look for easy targets where they're not going to be on camera. This is not like porch thieves where it's a crime of opportunity. Someone knew what they was going for.

    This also occurs in antiquarian book shows. Cameras are now being used by wise vendors. Technology can be your friend. It may not be the total answer but it's better than what occurs now.

    I've said all I need to about this. People will decide what they want to do.

    Cheers!

    Sg
    Last edited by sgphoto; February 21st, 2020 at 03:33 PM.

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  30. #38
    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    One way to view the perpetrator is to look at who has access to the show floor. Unless there is a simple way to sneak in, all the people there will either be vendors, paying show attendees, and/or venue staff. It follows then, even without the need for the excellent policing experience of sgphoto, that the perp is on balance of probabilities likely to be a member of the "pen community".

    Of course if it is easy to get in without paying then the odds shift a bit toward an outsider, but probably not by much.

    On the rare occasions I've visited a shop that sells pens - Fook Hing Trading and Aesthetic Bay in Singapore, the regular main shops in Shanghai and so on - all the pens were under glass. If I wanted to handle a single pen I had to ask for a staff member to get it out for me, and they remained while I examined it. Bit like in a jewelry store.

    Non-physical (i.e. no display cover) or non-tech (i.e. relying on behavioural change) solutions are not likely to be effective. Naively idealistic in my opinion.
    Having never attended a pen show.

    Also, the implication for the theft being an inside job implicated people who would be within the community of sellers. Any member of the public can pay money and attend a show, so having a paid badge and walking in doesn't make one a member of the community. It could very easily be someone who knows a (potentially) expensive commodity will be on display and consider the opportunity.

    I believe things will need to change if this continues at all. There are already discussions about more secure pen displays, as well as input from people who already utilize that kind of display (which you would see, going to pen shows). It may become more common, which adds both expense and travel issues to those who would display. Unfortunate, all around.

    BTW: this particular theft happened to a person I consider a good friend, so it isn't merely an academic topic to me.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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  32. #39
    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    BTW, I am not deflected, and neither should anyone else, by deliberate attempts to discredit the messenger rather than trying to understand the message.

    Having never attended a pen show.
    That's just projection. The point is that you have no actual real-time experience with the layout and dynamics of one of these rooms, nor an accurate sense of how people display their wares (which is in quite a number of different ways). The messenger is deficient by lack of real-life experience. That, and being academic about it, makes it very easy for you to make assumptions and cast aspersions. Own it.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Golden Ghost Chemyst's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: Stolen Pens from the LA Pen Show

    Is there a database/wiki/list of “pens of questionable provenance” maintained anywhere?

    Something that potential buyers inside the community could check before making a purchase?
    Last edited by Chemyst; February 21st, 2020 at 08:30 PM.

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