SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Imagine this — you’re about to get on the highway and the next thing you know, someone smashes through your back window — robbing you in broad daylight.
That’s what exactly just happened to a professional photographer in San Francisco.
The victim is a real estate photographer who was driving to Treasure Island to photograph the sunset when the thieves struck.
“It was the most expensive stuff that we had,” Ben Barghabany said.
Gone in an instant on Friday afternoon, photographer Ben Barghabany says he was heading on to I-80 in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood when he was jolted by the sounds of breaking glass.
And a Tesla dash cam caught the whole thing.
“I see this black Honda Accord just cut off you know a lot of traffic which is pretty normal for the Bay Area but then I see this guy get out of his car and then I realized okay something is about to happen,” said the witness who was driving the Tesla.
The man seen in the video with a hooded sweatshirt smashed through the back of Barghabany’s Prius and took off with $7,000 worth of camera equipment, including a pricey drone.
“It was everything,” Barghabany said.
Literally everything to him, because to professional photographers — your gear is your livelihood.
Ben and his wife moved to the Bay Area from Iran in 2014 to pursue his version of the American dream, slowly building his business over the last 6 years and despite the ongoing pandemic, still able to make ends meet.
In fact, he had just wrapped up his latest project on Delores street in San Francisco when the thieves struck.
“I was doing the drone and video outside of the house so I think my guess is that the guy started following us from there,” Barghabany said.
The frightening experience forced Barghabany to rethink how he stores his equipment in the future and hopeful that by sharing his story, others will do the same.
“I just don’t feel safe,” he said. “I want people to hide their personal stuff and just be careful.”
The intense car robbery has since caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of people across social media. The video posted to Twitter has gained more than 736,000 views at last check.