I Bought a Used Olympus PEN E-P5 And I Think It Is A Stolen Unit

Something interesting happened last night. 

I bought a used Olympus PEN E-P5 Silver body. 

Firstly, I sold off the Panasonic GM1, to fund my purchase of the Olympus E-P5. I loved the GM1 to bits and it was difficult parting with it, but I shall save this story on why I decided to get E-P5 on my coming blog entry. The main reason I got the E-P5 body used, was that it was dirt cheap - after selling off my old GM1, I only had to top up RM100 (less than USD25) to purchase the E-P5. 

Now here are the observations I have made on the spot:

1) No Box, No Warranty Card, No Receipt
The seller just sold the camera to me, basically stripped naked. Not a big problem for me as the box served me no purpose. 

2) No Front Body Cap
The front body cap was missing, but the seller was kind enough to substitute with a Panasonic body cap (hence I knew the original Olympus cap was missing). The seller told me, at this point that he bought this E-P5 with  M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens together from another seller. I further asked if the rear lens cap was included when he made the purchase, and as suspected, the rear lens cap was missing. 

3) No Original Battery Charger
The original battery charger was also missing, and was replaced with a third party charger. I did get an original BLM-1 battery. 

4) Serial Number plate was ripped off
I checked the shutter count of the camera, it was only about 1.1k shutter actuations.  There was completely no scratch or dent, and camera appeared in near perfect condition, like new. Yet, the serial number plate at the bottom of the camera came off. It could not have been wear and tear, and it must have been ripped off intentionally, to prevent tracking. Luckily I work for Olympus, I can still trace the serial number of the camera. 

5) SIRIM Certification Logo almost ripped off
For newer cameras wth Wifi in Malaysia, SIRIM certification is compulsory, and the certified logo sticker will be seen somewhere on the camera (usually hidden behind the tilt screen). The corner of the rectangular logo was seen peeled off, but the sticker was still pretty much intact. Why would someone want to tear the sticker off?

So lets do a quick round up. E-P5 in super pristine condition, only 1.1k shutter count, came with no box, no charger, no caps, and serial number plate ripped off. 

I don't need to be a Civil Engineer to figure out something was wrong. but there is a high possibility it was a stolen unit. 

So here is the thing. 

I have checked with the Olympus Malaysia database and came up with no match. I have searched the camera serial number (I managed to find out the number, I work for Olympus) online, but returned with no results. My last effort to reach out to the original owner, is to post this here. 

If you were in Malaysia (SIRIM Sticker confirms this is a local Malaysian unit) and have lost an Olympus PEN E-P5 Silver Body (I assume not many people did), this could be your body. 

All you have to do, is email me directly at hamish7ian@gmail.com with the following details:
1) Full Name
2) SERIAL NUMBER of the E-P5
3) Scans or images of your original receipts/proof of purchase, and the warranty card
4) And whatever evidence you can supply to show you are the original owner. 

I need to be darn sure you are the owner of this E-P5. I am willing to return the camera to you for a small fee. 

Part of me wanted this camera so badly, and wanted to believe it was so cheap. But I know, I know how painful it was to have a camera stolen from you. Keeping the camera without trying to locate the original owner would be selfish. 

For those of you readers in Malaysia, please help share this post. At the mean time, I am going to take the E-P5 out for a spin this coming weekend. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The serial number is embedded into the exit data right? I guess if he can show you a fair amount of pics with the same serial, it would be decent enough proof. Good for you for trying to do the right thing.

    1. Sorry couldn't edit on mobile. Exif got autocorrected to exit...

    2. HI Terry, as long as the owner can sufficiently prove to me he is indeed the rightful owner, I will return the camera.

  3. Hi Robin, you're not only taking good pictures, but you're a good guy too!

  4. Hi Robin, sorry to hear this, I'm guessing you did not buy on ebay where their is some protection for this sort of thing. The E-P5 is a great camera, I bought one for my wife (on sale here for 1/2 price) and now that I've added the VF-4 she loves it.

    1. Nope, it was a local buy/sell forum. Glad your wife loves the e-P5!

  5. Hi Robin, try this

    if previous user of this camera published some photos (with exif data) on internet you should be able to track him.

    What does it means "I am willing to return the camera to you for a small fee" Small fee? For stolen camera (because probable it was stolen if sombody give onself trouble to rip off s/n)? You're kidding, right? You should rather demand your money back from seller if it was stolen.

    1. Dear Rupert,
      I have checked the website, no image found.
      I reserve the right to whether I want a small fee or not. I will speak to the owner myself. Priority will be returning the camera to the rightful owner. Yes, the money I spent is from my own money. But what about my travel, time and effort spent? I deserve at least some compensation for that.
      Even mail postage costs you stamp duties. A train wide would even require some money. if you have not noticed, I have spent a whole lot of time searching high and low, from Olympus database, to whatever means I can find online to track down the owner. All that for a small fee, is too much to ask for?

      Nothing is free in this world. If that is not agreeable, then you and I will be having difficulties.

    2. If I lost my camera and someone was gracious enough to spend some of their own money and most importantly their time I would not hesitate to compensate them.

    3. Thanks for the words of support Warren.

  6. Bro,not only does god gave you a good set of photograper eyes,he also gave you a good heart.god bless you.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Jack, lets hope we find the owner.

  7. to be the devil's advocate...
    Not sure how things are in Malaysia but in Australia handling stolen goods is a crime, including possession.
    If (and I said IF) you know for sure that your E-P5 is stolen then turning it to the police is what is required in Australia.
    Some have faith in police, some don't... I will not comment on that.
    Again, if you know that the camera is indeed stolen then if you do get caught you might be prosecuted.

    Now that I have cleared the legal aspect, I applaud you for being suspicious and following it up at your best ability, maybe better than what the fuzz could do.

    1. Hi gnarlydog,
      There is not enough evidence to suggest that the camera is stolen. So far, only suspicion (based on observations). And I work for Olympus Malaysia so it was all good.

  8. Proof that humanity still exist.

  9. One thing beyond the story:
    I'm not in the E-P5-thing, but I was wondering if a BLM-1-battery would really be the right type of battery for powering it?

  10. I am kind of in a dilenma of whether to choose EPL7 vs EP5 due to the promo they have now. Both choose with two lens kit, but EP5 comes with 17mm f1.8 lens but RM400 more.

    Even after reading some reviews it probably got me more confused. In not an expert photographer, but just want a good camera for capturing good photos, especially with my baby.What would you be your advice. I was actually also considering Sony A6000.

    Any advice?


  11. hi, how do i check the serial number olympus online? I am going to buy 2nd hand olympus and the owner gave me the SN.

  12. Hi Robin,
    I ended up here while looking for some info about the Olympus EP5 and found your story touching, but... did you find the owner of the camera at all? I would like to know the end of the story, even there is no a happy ever after.

    Don't leave us hanging ;-)