A local photographer is seeking help in finding her stolen equipment, but she isn’t the only one searching — so is the bride whose wedding photos were on the stolen cameras.
During the overnight hours Thursday, more than $6,000 worth of photography equipment was stolen from the back of Jessalynn Cairer’s vehicle at her residence in the 700 block of West Fourth Street. Cairer, owner of The Royal In Me Design & Photography, lost cameras, flashes and lenses, all SONY brand. While she hopes to retrieve her equipment, as she is booked for the next month, she is more focused on finding the memory cards, which contain photos for clients.
“I will have to replenish all of my equipment; it took me three years to previously do so,” Cairer said. “I’m just going to get the little bit I can. I had five shoots between Saturday and today, so when I found the equipment stolen Friday morning, immediately I had to still go and purchase what I could so I could complete shoots I had scheduled.
“… The biggest part, I lost three photo shoots. Two of them are seniors, which I can redo those sessions, I’ve had to offer it to them heavily discounted. The main thing is the wedding. Obviously I will not be able to recoup that entire day’s worth of work, but more than that I can’t provide these newlyweds their memories of their special day.”
Cairer captured the big day for Jessica and Patrick Hofheins when they were married Oct. 10 at First Baptist Church in Sedalia. Jessica told the Democrat she was devastated when she got the call from Cairer last week.
“It was very devastating to hear the news that all of my special moments from that day were gone, and I took a lot of time to take very specific pictures with my dad and my husband-to-be before the wedding,” she said. “… We went out of our way to make these pictures as personal as possible. It’s just really heartbreaking that they were gone; you just can’t recreate those first-look pictures. It’s just really upsetting.”
Cairer handed out about 80 fliers in her neighborhood in hopes someone had seen the equipment and has contacted local pawn shops and the Sedalia Police Department. Both Cairer and Jessica have taken to social media to share their plea. About 250 people shared Cairer’s Facebook post, but so far no information has come in.
“It’s not fun and easy to lose all of the equipment and things you worked so hard for, to have your business tarnished with this bad luck, but what I’m most concerned about and so determined to fix is for this couple, what they’ve had to suffer,” Cairer said. “It’s not just me who’s upset, it’s them too. I can’t recreate their wedding day. It’s just pretty devastating. That’s what I’m focused on, to retrieve at least the memory cards so I can give them back their memories.”
Cairer was the only photographer at the Hofheins’ wedding, other than a few photos friends and family took on their phones. Jessica said both she and her new husband are upset they won’t be able to look back on those special memories.
“(Cairer) took everything, from my first-look pictures to my reception, special pictures no one else got to take,” Jessica said. “I’m just helping her because I want my pictures back, I want to be able to cherish those for the rest of my life. … I see everybody posting their newlywed pictures online and it makes me sad because I don’t have those.
“We hope to reach out to someone who has (the equipment) or someone who knows,” she added. “… Hopefully someone will turn (the memory cards) in is our main focus. It’s just unbelievable that it’s gone.”
If anyone has any information about the stolen equipment, they can contact Cairer at 660-221-6277 or [email protected]
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.