When a local filmmaker had his knapsack full of valuable gear snatched from under him in a café last Friday, Jesse Freeston decided to make a video showing the alleged theft and post it online.
“I’m a filmmaker and a video editor, so what can I do to turn myself from a victim — so I’m just not sitting at home crying? So I made this video, put in some music, tried to make it interesting for people and it seems to be going viral,” Freeston said.
'At the very least, we’re going to cybershame this guy.' - Jesse Freeston
Freeston was having coffee with a friend on Friday afternoon at Café Pi on Saint Laurent Boulevard in the Plateau.
“It wasn’t until I was leaving, I was going out the door and said, ‘Wait a minute, I had my backpack with me.'”
His backpack contained all his professional gear.
“A brand new laptop — which was a souped-up laptop for video-editing purposes. I lost a notebook with a lot of my ideas in it. I lost my agenda with all my future meetings in it, my phone and flash drives.”
Freeston filed a police report and got the surveillance video from the coffee shop owner.
It shows a man who appears to be talking on a cellphone, with a newspaper in his hand, pick a backpack up off the floor and leave the coffee shop.
“The bag was under my chair between my legs, and in three movements, he was able to pull it out and take off with it,” Freeston said, who edited the footage at home and posted it on social media.
CBC has blurred the faces of people in the video out of privacy concerns.
In the video he posted online, Freeston even leaves the alleged thief his email address to contact him and remind him of his schedule.
“At the very least, please write and tell me what’s in my agenda for the next few weeks,” the video says.
Freeston said he doesn’t think he’ll ever get his possessions back, but he hopes this video will prevent a repeat incident.
“So far, not a single lead on the whereabouts of the equipment, but at the very least we’re going to cybershame this guy.”
Montreal police confirmed to CBC that they received a theft report, adding that they don’t encourage victims to post videos of alleged crimes online. A police spokeswoman said citizens should leave the police work up to police.