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The Camera Store offers $5,000 shopping spree reward after theft of high-end gear

Store owner Julian Ferreira told CBC News that the theft is the first burglary the store has experienced in its 21-year history.

Cameras, lenses worth $35,000 snagged after burglars pried open metal shutters, smashed window

Two cameras and three lenses, worth a total of $35,000, have been stolen from The Camera Store in Calgary. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

The Camera Store is offering a $5,000 shopping spree as a reward for any information that leads to a conviction, after two high-end cameras and three lenses were stolen from the downtown Calgary business early Saturday morning.

Store owner Julian Ferreira told CBC News that the theft is the first burglary the store has experienced in its 21-year history.

Ferreira arrived at the store along with police after the building's alarm went off, only to find the steel shutters pried open, windows smashed, and two display cases broken open. 

The Camera Store's Julian Ferreira looks at the boarded-up window, which is how burglars entered the store. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

He believes the thieves hid behind a row of green garbage bins, and worked away with a crowbar to pry open the shutters.

"It's a tough business nowadays, we've all been working so hard, all my staff rolled in half-an-hour early for a Christmas meeting only to spend the first half-hour of the day cleaning up glass," Ferreira said.

The items stolen included a Leica MP Safari Edition camera, a Hasselblad X1D camera body in silver, and three Hasselblad lenses, worth a combined total of approximately $35,000.

The green Leica is a limited-edition model, and it was the last one of its kind at The Camera Store.

A rare, limited edition Leica camera, similar to the one held here by The Camera Store owner Julian Ferreira, was stolen from the store on Saturday. The stolen camera has an olive-green body, and is one of only 1,500 sold worldwide. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Other pricey items totalling over $100,000 were left behind, which is one of the reasons Ferreira believes the culprits knew what they were doing.

The store has a large social media following, and employees host a live YouTube show each week.

"We're fortunate that we've really built a large community," said YouTube host Chris Niccolls.

He said the store is hoping the reward will lead to the items being safely returned.

Chris Niccolls, host of The Camera Store's YouTube channel, said the store has received an outpouring of international support after the burglary. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

"We're well-known in the area. It's a way of making sure that people are aware that this happened and sharing our situation with them, but also, because we have such a great community and we feel that the kind of attack this was that it's targeted at specific gear, we feel that someone's gonna hear something or know somebody."

Niccols said that people from all around the world have contacted the store to wish them good luck in finding the offenders. 

Police are investigating.

With files from Terri Trembath