Theft at 2018 Worlds

 I attended 2018 Worlds in Louisville.  At the end of competition I helped my nephew carry out some of his team's equipment .  I left my camera, with a number of photos on the memory card I had not yet been able to download, with the mother of a team member who was sitting at a table.  Most, but by no means all, of the teams had gone.  There was another left in the same aisle.  During the 10 minutes I was away a guard came up to pick on their team, yelling at them to get out.  He threatened to have them thrown out of the building, leaving their equipment behind.  He summoned another guard with his radio.  The lady watching my camera got up to defend them.  When I got back the camera was gone.
 At the security office I was told 15 thefts had just been reported.  It now appears, bizarrely, that this was false.  I was misled to think there had been a professional thief.  I was told to call the "public safety commander."  For two weeks I repeatedly called and left messages for him, with no response.  My chances of recovering the camera were fading away.  Finally, after a third call to the Expo Center's number for complaints, the security director called me.  After three more days the Commander called me.  When I politely asked if he could identify the guard who caused the problem he launched an incoherent tirade against me.  I terminated the call.  
 The next day the Director called me.  He said the guards were not from the Expo Center.  He said VEX had hired a private security company "such as _____ or _____" and rattled off the names of a couple companies.  I wondered why he didn't just name the company.  I asked him why the Commander got so upset if it wasn't his own personnel.  He said he didn't know.
 I contacted VEX and found they did not hire a private company.  Security was provided by the Expo Center.  At this point I realized I was being hoodwinked and probably the offensive guard had taken the camera during the ruckus.  It never showed up in lost and found.
  I have since tried speaking to a higher-up at the Expo Center, who said he would call me back.  Instead he had the Director call me.  This time he was contemptuous of the VEX person I had spoken to.  He began to attack me personally when I suggested he was not being forthcoming.  He now said the "private security company" was Venue Services.  It is easy to find out this is not a private company.  It is the Kentucky Fair Board's name for its operations.  The Commander is in charge of its security staff.  He went further and claimed VEX used volunteers as security personnel and the problem guard was one of them.  From my own experience with volunteer work this did not seem credible.  VEX confirms they had no such volunteers.  He denied he or anyone there had talked to the police.  In fact, the police detective I dealt with clearly had spoken to someone there and was given a different story.    
 To quote the legendary physicist Richard Feynman:  "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts" and "Pay no attention to 'authorities,' think for yourself."
 Let me mention some of my personal experience.  I served as a juror in a case where a state highway patrolman testified.  The prosecutor's first question to her witness was "Why aren't you wearing your uniform?"  Because regulations did not allow it when he had a desk job while on temporary disability, but why would I care?  Feynman told of his father, a sometime uniform salesman, who mocked people in uniforms who were not who they appeared to be.  I saw problems with the patrolman's demeanor and how he reacted to questions.  I was surprised none of the other jurors, including a university professor of communication, sensed any of this.
 Jurors are warned of the scientifically-minded sin of "doing research."  You can get in trouble for looking at anything outside the performance in the courtroom.  After the trial I looked up the patrolman online and found the story of what was on his mind.  I'll forgo giving a lengthy explanation here.  
 My family and I volunteered to work in the Friends of the Library's bookstore in Columbus, Ohio.  The volunteer coordinator employed by the library had formerly been a probation officer.  She was a pal of a suburban police chief, whom she installed as president of the Friends.  He was also president of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.  In my time there I only laid eyes on the woman a handful of times and exchanged perhaps a dozen sentences with her.  However, I could see and hear plenty around me.

She harassed faithful volunteers and after she drove them out had the police chief spread lies about them. When I caught her lying she went after me.
It became obvious she could only be acting like this because she was embezzling from the Friends. Her scheme was to butter up people with authority while implicating supposedly inferior people, volunteers, to direct attention away from her own criminality. I tried to bring this to the attention of library officials. I tried to tell the library’s executive director, but he had already heard form the police chief. He ordered me away with a ranting personal attack. The Expo Center Commander used the same tactic. It took more than a year, and it was not pleasant, but I finally did get through to a librarian who did initiate an investigation. The coordinator was duly found to be embezzling and fired. Afterwards I again encountered the executive director of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. With crude language he defended the dishonesty of those around him and tried to get me to go away. He stuck his finger in my face while denouncing me and I wondered if he would strike me. The next year he did slap the director of a suburban library in the face at a meeting of library officials. This did not keep him from being retained and honored by the library’s politicized board of trustees.
In the situation at the Expo Center I have encountered brazen and defiant lying. They seem to be used to dealing with ignorant rubes who might be cowed by this. (Recently there was a controversy about Nazi and white supremacist merchandise for sale at a gun show.) They may not even care if I believe them, so long as they put on a show acceptable to those who matter. The police detective did a pro forma investigation, but nothing came of it. As a person from out of town I can be dismissed.
Neither I nor anyone is the center of the universe or uniquely persecuted. The point is that scientific principles of observation and logic should be followed in a world mired in social conventions which impair clear thinking. I doubt the Director and the Commander would go to such lengths to protect one bad apple guard. There is a deeper problem at the Expo Center, not one isolated incident.

I had a video camera stolen from my car at Worlds 2017. I would be very upset to find out it was an “inside job.” Interestingly enough, nothing else was stolen beside the camera. Perhaps there is a pawn shop in Louisville with an inventory of cameras that increases substantially around April of every year. This needs to be investigated.

This seems incredibly sketch and would actually be a good thing to investigate. How do you feel about bringing a new camera to worlds with a GPS secretly attached to see what happens to the camera once it’s stolen?

Just an additional note about the convention center…

After IQ (which ran about an hour late… end your event on time!!!) we went back to get a couple of things and they already had forklifts and other equipment rolling around while there were plenty of kids running around. Disappointed that they didn’t clear everyone out before they started rolling on it.

I get venue contracts and timing and everything, but man those event staff at the end are downright rude a lot about getting out.

My team was one of a few that had a car window smashed and backpacks stolen out of the parking lot at 2017 worlds. The security team at the Expo Center informed us that this was a consistent problem during their events, but that they lacked the proper surveillance of the parking lot in order to combat the issue.

I mean this not to cast blame on the Expo Center staff, but instead to suggest that teams going to worlds be vigilant about not leaving anything that appears to be of value in your cars at worlds. We’ve been much more careful about emptying our cars and bringing everything into the convention center, and I would highly recommend the same for any other teams that are attending.

In Worlds 2015, I had my laptop stolen out my backpack which I had left at our pits. Never saw it again.
I’d advise always having someone at your pit watching your stuff and/or taking valuables with you when you leave. It’s a shame that people would stoop so low. :confused:

I’m going to make a brief thread about this soon. That includes; How to keep your stuff secured, what to do and what not, etc. Additionally, that thread would be a warning for people attending Worlds.

We kept camera’s mostly unintended pointed at fields all day for both days last year. This makes me wonder if I am lucky or thieves only target pits.

Bring a really trashed up dented car so nobody looks at the inside of your car.

Assuming you’re talking about a division’s competition fields, it probably had to do with the fact that having a large group of onlooking people doesn’t constitute a ripe environment for criminal activity.

maybe, but the crowd cycled so much, anybody could have taken them down and no one around would really notice anything weird about it.

This is true. On the other hand, pits are still more vulnerable, and that’s where valuables are more likely to be found.

yeah, I guess the next time we compete I’ll be more vigilant.

It sucks that the Expo Center is hassling this guy so much, I have certainly had negative experiences with their security though. Real jerks when it gets close to quitting time. They’re like a solid 8 on the aggressive scale which is kind of impressive for a rentacop.