Rittell, a well-known and much loved Zachary photographer of kids' sports, school, city and community events, as well as local weddings, had his camera stolen from inside the gymnasium at Zachary High School during the junior class ring ceremony held Dec. 6.
The camera, a Nikon D700 with a 24-120 mm lens, and a battery pack was stolen from inside Rittell's camera case which was sitting on top of the score table inside the gym, Rittell said.
"I just really want my camera back," said Rittell. "In the 10 years or so that I've been covering Zachary school events, I've never had a camera stolen. Photography is my livelihood, and I'm just really disappointed this happened at a school function."
Rittell said the score table is located directly in front of an entire bank of bleachers, which were full of parents, families and friends of the ZHS junior class. "Hundreds of people saw me put that camera inside my case and zip it up. I walked away for just a few seconds and returned to find the bag completely unzipped and the camera, lens and battery pack gone," said Rittell.
Rittell said he is actively pursuing the whereabouts of his Nikon D700. He immediately notified ZHS Principal Wes Watts, who helped him search for the camera on the night of Dec. 6, and he has filed a police report with the Zachary Police.
Unfortunately, the gymnasium only has surveillance cameras located on the outside of the gym and not on the inside. Rittell said he also contacted the Zachary Community School Board but was told insurance would not cover the theft.
A cash reward is being offered for the return of the camera, no questions asked, or knowledge leading to the whereabouts and return of the camera.
If you or someone you know has any information regarding this incident, please contact Rip Rittell at 658-7477 or 910-7477.