‘Felt Like My Heart Was Exploding’: Video Shows Brazen Burglary Of Longtime Family-Owned Business

A family-owned camera supply store in Palmetto Bay was reportedly burglarized earlier this month, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage, according to the business’ operations manager.

The incident was caught on video by Pitman Photo Supply’s surveillance cameras. Lauren Elsea, whose great-grandparents started the South Florida business in 1928, said the burglary happened on Nov. 2, just before 1 a.m.

“They bust through the door after, like, 10 minutes of working on our impact glass, and then, they came in and stole everything our of our Sony show case,” she told NBC6. “It was horrible. I felt like my heart was exploding.”

Elsea said that 10 cameras and roughly 20 lenses were stolen; an estimated $30,000 in goods. She also said the subjects caused approximately $9,000 in damage to the building.

“We have footage alerts on our phone when someone’s outside, and so I could see the break-in happening live,” Elsea said. “Think about your choices. Think about who this is impacting. Not only is it impacting our store; it’s impacting our employees. We have a staff of amazing people that this is all trickling down to them, and it’s trickling down to our customers.”

Watching the alleged crime play out, Elsea said she immediately caused police. NBC6 reached out to the Miami-Dade Police Department, with which the incident report was filed, for additional information.

Although Pitman Photo has been in existence for nearly a century, Elsea said that they moved to their current location on S Dixie Highway about seven years ago.


“I was just freaking out. You know, we’ve been hit before, so it was that feeling of, ‘Oh no, it’s happening again,'” she said. “‘How much are they going to take this time?'”

Pitman Photo Supply was also burglarized on Sept. 14, 2018. Elsea said mainly Nikon and Sony equipment was stolen, but the perpetrators were never caught.

In this most recent incident, surveillance video obtained by NBC6 showed a silver sedan drive up to the front of the store. Two individuals dressed in all black could be seen getting out of the car and using hammers to try to break the glass of the front door. Once inside, surveillance video showed the subjects breaking the glass on a case of equipment near the front of the store.

But the family-owned business remains open.

“Our door is busted. It’s a wooden façade right now. But we are absolutely open. We’re still serving the community,” Elsea said. “This is a very important time for holiday shopping for small businesses. So, please, support small. Not just us; all the other local small businesses in the area.”

In the meantime, Elsea said she would be looking to see what additional security measures could be put in place, and hopes that the surveillance video and public awareness will help authorities track down the individuals responsible.

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