Good Samaritan helps reunite photographer with lost lenses

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - It was a heart-dropping moment for a photographer in Jefferson County as he realized he was suddenly missing $6,000 worth of camera lenses. A Good Samaritan plus Facebook led to a joyful reunion.

If anyone, James Byrd seemed to have it coming. After 15 years in the Navy, including combat duty in Iraq, he started a family photography business in Crystal City five years ago.

He now has customers coming from across the country. But he's nothing without his lenses. He’s become known nationwide for photographing newborns. His booming business nearly came to sudden stop Monday.

After thousands of photo shoots, the unimaginable happened: Byrd left behind the very expensive tools of his trade, his best lenses, after taking children’s photos at the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge in Hillsboro.

“I got caught up in the moment; I set it down right there. I walked away and took photos of the kids and kept taking photos of the kids and forgot all about the bag,” Byrd said.

Debra Barbre of Hillsboro found the lenses and posted an alert on the JeffCo 411 Facebook page.

Byrd didn’t see the post but his friend did. The same friend also saw that Byrd had just posted photos from the bridge on his J & A Photography Facebook page.

The friend put the clues together and, ultimately, helped James and Debra get in touch. James got his lenses back.

He posted a “thank you” but wanted to take it a step further, knowing how easy it would have been for someone to turn a quick dollar out of his misfortune.

“Right now, everyone with a camera is a professional photographer. They could have easily used it for their own gain. Someone else could have grabbed it and sold it on craigslist for $100 not even knowing what they had,” Byrd said. “To see someone else do something amazing, it really touches my heart.”

Barbre told Fox 2 News she’d been at the bridge with her kids and dog. She found the lenses and did what she hoped anyone else would have done.

She had no idea the lenses were worth so much money but said it wouldn't have made a difference.