The case of the lost cameras

By Zayn Roohi

Photo Editor

As a photographer who has worked three different jobs in media, I can say that while hard, being the Sun Star Photo Editor is also an extremely fun job. I’ve been paid to go to concerts, attend hockey games and play with cameras.

The best part about working at any newspaper, though, is using their expensive cameras and lenses that ordinary people would never be able to afford.


The mysterious safe that nobody knows anything at all about. Zayn Roohi/Photo Editor

I was surprised on my first day as on the job, when I found out that the Sun Star only had six cameras, four of which are more than seven years old.

Needless to say, our photographers usually use their own equipment.

One of the strangest things about the Sun Star is the fact that it gets mostly new editing staff every year, which makes it easy for things to be completely forgotten about.

Many interesting things have probably been forgotten over the years, but none quite ridiculous as what I found one Friday, a few weeks after I started, while looking for batteries. Buried at the bottom of a drawer were the warranties to $13,000 of equipment that we didn’t actually have.

The rest of that Friday and much of the following week was spent trying to find where exactly all our camera equipment was. After interviewing six editors, talking to ASUAF and looking through the Sun Star’s records, what happened is pretty clear.

Some long time ago ASUAF bought a safe, which eventually ended up in the possession of the Sun Star. Over time, as the Sun Star continuously progressed to new editing staff, the combo to the safe was lost. However, this didn’t mean that the safe was unusable.

“We would routinely put our camera equipment in the safe. No one actually had the combo, so we would just close it and not lock it, and hope it never got locked,” said former Sun Star Editor Elika Roohi, who is also coincidentally my sister.

A $100 Turtle Club gift card will be awarded to the person who can unlock the safe without damaging its contents.

A $100 Turtle Club gift card will be awarded to the person who can unlock the safe without damaging its contents.

The safe got locked.

A month after Roohi finished her year as editor, June 2013, the Sun Star moved its office to a new location because of the Wood Center construction.

They moved into the ASUAF boardroom, an “office” less than half the size of the previous one. It was around this point that the cameras disappeared.

The University hired a third party to move the office. Workers said they found a locked safe, which was taken by ASUAF, as the Sun Star had no room for it in their postage stamp-sized nook.

No one knows what’s in it, and it has proved impossible to crack so far.

ASUAF Office Manager Anne Williamson said that UAF facilities services declined to try and open the safe.

According to last year’s editor, there were only three cameras during her time as editor, which means everything had disappeared by fall 2013.

The cameras may have been stolen by someone with access to the Sun Star office that summer, but more likely they’re in that locked safe.

It would cost the Sun Star somewhere around $400 dollars to open, which is apparently way too much to pay. So if you, or anyone you know thinks they can open the safe, the Sun Star is offering a $100 Turtle Club gift card as a reward. Just come by anytime to talk to us, and we’ll show you where the safe is.

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1 Response

  1. Marianne Freelong says:

    I would like to clarify that Facilities Services politely declined to attempt to open the safe because our employees are locksmiths and not safe technicians. It takes specialized tools and training to successfully open a safe without causing damage to the safe and possibly the contents.

    Thank you ~

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