Brooklyn Photographer Don Wiss Threatened if He Doesn’t Leave the Country He Will Be Killed

PriceRitePhoto, Photo by Don Wiss
PriceRitePhoto’s store, photo by Brooklyn Photographer Don Wiss

I received a troubling email earlier today from Don Wiss saying that he received a phone call today from someone telling him that if he didn’t leave the country he would be killed. Wiss also reported another call from an anonymous caller accusing him of running him out of business. Don Wiss is a Brooklyn photographer that I have mentioned previously in my posts about sleazy New York bait and switch camera operators operating out of Brooklyn. Wiss has done an excellent job chronicling the actual storefronts of many of the shady camera dealers in Brooklyn and has provided helpful visual information for consumers that might do business with these operators and in some cases scam artists.

Wiss posted the photo above of the sleazy camera operator PriceRitePhoto that I had been previously threatened by.

Although I suppose after hearing an actual voicemail of a camera dealer threatening to break a customer’s neck that it shouldn’t surprise me to learn of Don’s calls today, it still sickens my stomach. How is it that these criminals can act with impunity right in Spitzer’s back yard? How can camera stores get away with death threats here now in the year 2005 in the United States of America.

Printed below is the email Wiss sent me earlier today.

“As you no doubt know, someone posted a link to your Brooklyn camera story on Slashdot on 12/1. One of the comments mentioned my donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores web site. I had the most hits ever.

Yesterday donwiss.com had a DOS attack. 497 simultaneous connections. My host cut me off so not to bring down the other clients on that server. I then switched my dns to a backup host.

Today I received two phone calls at work. First one like blaming me for driving them out of business. Says they have already shut it down. But, of course, he didn’t disclose what business, and they had caller id turned off.

I then got a second phone call. He told me to watch my back. He said if I don’t leave the country I will be killed. Now nowhere at my site do I pass any judgment on the dealers here. So why blame me? My question is have you been threatened? Of course, living here in Brooklyn makes me a convenient target.”

To hear the story directly from Don click here to read his post in the rec.photo.digital newsgroup at Google.

I think Wiss has done us all a favor by showing us the actual storefronts of many of the Brooklyn businesses doing business online, and he’s right, he makes no judgement as to the credibility of any of these operators. Recently through Wiss’ site I found evidence that might suggest the real owner of PriceRitePhoto is an individual by the name of Chaim Pikarski.

Wiss is taking this threat to his life seriously and said he would be filing a police report today.

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30 Comments

  1. Kamen says:

    All I can say is WOW. Been following the story but never saw it going this way!

  2. Levois says:

    That’s terrible. I hope this turns out to be more bluster than anything.

  3. michael says:

    Incredible. Call the police and start making a paper trail right away. It’s likely it will be easy to track that phone call.

  4. As we all saw, a lot of nuts posted angry responses at the bottom of your original story. I hope that these threats against Don Wiss are investigated and turn out to be all bark and no bite.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mafia. I’d get the hell out of town.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is one way to deal with a threat.. and that is to make it clear that the threat will be met with absolute punishment.

    This is to say, that those that threaten you must understand that the circle of violence never ends at a single action. They will watch their back’s for the rest of their days.

    Deperation amounts to desparate actions, so take threats seriously. Arm yourself, alter your paths and behaviour for a while. Be vigilant and suspicious. Don’t feel paranoid, just keep your chest in front of you and use sound judgement. Good luck!

  7. marlon says:

    in times like these, call the ghost busters

  8. Dave Himself says:

    listen to the comments above which give actual advice. In a situation like this… Do file complaints. Do change your typical routes and schedules. Do be alert. Do arm youself (within reason.) And most likely you will be pleasantly relieved when nothing comes of it.

  9. Dujoducom says:

    Wow man, this story is amazing, I’ve been following it since the start. Thanks for keeping us posted.

  10. Anonymous says:

    report it to the authorities.. and tape all incoming calls in future..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Quick note for Don… Fuggetaboutit! Though I wouldn’t mess with your average brooklyn cop/ construction worker .0001 percent of guys like this, esp. white guys from brooklyn, are all talk. Sure they’ll shout, say things like ‘Do you know who I am?!’ and get in your face, but I certainly wouldn’t lose sleep over these cowards.

  12. Shawn says:

    I just wanted to show my support for you, and this Don Wiss guy. I really hate seeing people getting pushed around by crappy business’s like some of the ones you guys have encountered. I think its even more upsurd that, because some business owners don’t want to participate in a fair society, they go around threatening their customers.

    Whats even more annoying is seeing this kind of crap happening, when I see my dad work his ass off trying to run a legitiment small business. Sometimes, I just don’t understand why people like the “PriceRitePhoto” can’t do the same! Its damn insane!

    However, I do believe that you might encounter this more where you live, just because of the area. I live out in Iowa, and I’ve never seen anything like this happen to anybody. Ever.

    I feel for you Thomas, and Mr. Don Wiss. I hope you guys, and others who are fighting the same battle as you guys, can perservere over business like PriceRitePhoto.

  13. Beta says:

    following this story off of digg.com
    good luck and hope that justice prevails. these scam artists are UN-FREAKIN’ believable!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I used to live in NYC, the threat is just that, a threat, an empty one at that. Those types of places don’t emply “muscle” for lack of a better term. I hate to say it, but the very worst that will happen is that Price Rite will close down and then simply reopen under a different name. There are loads of those grey market stores in NY. Generally their worst offence is trying to talk you into buying something else along with what you originally wanted, but the prices are so good you still come out ahead. I think you just got a bad salesguy fired and pissed off, he’s probably the one making the calls.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “Apply for a concealed carry permit and buy a weapon immediately. I would also go to a reputable shooting instructor in your area and practice.”

    Too bad it’s New York and they don’t want you protecting yourself. Shame on you for thinking self defense is a right you still have!

  16. Anonymous says:

    At this point it is time to call the cops or FBI. Threats against ones life should result in at least a some sort of investigation.
    http://www.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp

  17. Anonymous says:

    It’s obvious that these guys are scared to death of you and your comments on their blatantly criminal behavior. I’d say it’s time to call the DA’s office and start pressing charges against them.

    Mike
    http://www.quicktrivia.com

  18. Anonymous says:

    The first credible death threat is always the most exciting.

    That’s when you know you’ve made an impact.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The first credible death threat is always the most exciting.

    That’s when you know you’ve really made an impact.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Russians to me what with DDoS attacks. Mafia would just bust yer jaw or kill ya outright. A Russians likes a game of chess first…

  21. Anonymous says:

    It’s got nothing to do with “russians” or “mafia”.

    They’re orthodox jews in brooklyn, and that is what they do: rip people off, then threaten them when they are identified.

    Notice how this scumbag tries to give non-jewish names like “steve phillips” or “ed lopez”.

    What a dirt bag. Anything happens to Thomas or Don, there’s gonna be big trouble for the scumbags who did this. The only way to deal with scum like this is to BE RELENTLESS in exposing them. THe only language these dirtbags understand is ruthless force.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am honored to have been part of removing these criminals from victimizing camera enthusiast. After being burned by a $700 spite stone from Price Rite Photo I hooked up with Don Wiss. I gave Don the alternative business name of C&A; Marketing and the unpublished address of 254 36th Street, Suite 202. I truly thank Don Wiss for his outstanding efforts and for the age of the Internet which inpowers the little guy. My story, I received a spite stone after threatening Price Rite Photo to honor their price or I would post bad reviews. After receiving the stone, I called them to speak to the owner. I though the sales person acted on his own in mailing the $700 spite stone, but after speaking to the lead thug it was crystal clear the spite was all his. He wanted me to receive sign and fax back a document which would prevent me from speaking out. I understood he was capable of terrible things. My credit card reversed all charges and I reported in detail to BBB. samwalton@adelphia.net

  23. Anonymous says:

    I actually own a small electronics shop that appears on don wiss’s website, and I don’t deal with digital cameras for the most part because of all of the scams out there. I am trying to just make an honest living. Yes, my company operates out of a house, but with so much competition and keeping it honest, it is hard to simply pay the bills. So Don Wiss is negatitvely impacting my business, but he could care less!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Same thing here…

  25. Anonymous says:

    Oh wow! Something like this happened to me just the other night. I also work for a software company, and I was asked my a relative to find a particular digital camera online at no more than a particular price.

    Knowing this camera, I told her that there was probably no way I could get the camera at that price, but that I would try. I did a search and found a “price comparison” site that had several cheap prices listed within the amount she gave me. It was very surprising.

    So I put an order in for the lowest price. The website looked realistic enough, but when I submitted the order, it said I had to call in to complete it.

    I called in expecting just to verify a credit card number, but what I ended up getting was something else altogether. The guy who answered had a thick Brooklyn accent, and kept insisting on more and more accessories for the camera I had picked.

    “The battery only lasts 15 minutes” he said, and thus I needed an upgrade. “The memory card is prorietary sir, and they are out of print, but we have them”. Things like that kept coming out of his mouth.

    Now, I knew the camera but not well enough to know if these particular details of his were true or not. But then he said “I am surprised you ordered the Japanese version of the camera sir, and not the American one. The American camera is $100 more.” Now that I knew was BS. Why? Because his site had no other version of the camera, and the listing made no indication of it being a Japanese model. So I called him out on it…

    Now, the response I got was basically along the lines of “You callin’ me a liar? I don’t like being called a liar! @#$% you buddy! You forget, I know where you live!”

    Now that frightened me a good bit. I basically told him the call was being made from my corporate office, and that it was automatically recorded. I said I’d call the police and wanted to cancel the order. So he “transfers” me to another department for cancellation.

    I kid you not — when the other department anwered, it was the exact same guy. He was trying to disguise his voice by sounding more gruff, but it was him. He said immediately, “Your order ships out tomorrow! Thank you for the order!”

    I interrupted him and said “No — cancel the order. I am no longer interested!” He had the nerve to tell me there was a 30% restocking fee. WHAT?!? So I said “For a five to ten minute call, you’ve already taken things out of stock and packaged them. If you charge me a restocking fee, I’ll be disputing it on my card!” His reply to this isn’t possible to post without dirtying your ears, but suffice it to say it included a threat.

    To make a long story short, after going at it a few moments, he eventually said “Hey if you don’t like the order, there’s nothing I can do about that, it’s your opinion! You can cancel the order, but I ain’t makin a million dollars off this!” So I said, “It’s not because you are not charging a million dollars.” So he said “OK I’ll cancel the order!” and hung up.

    Now, the story doesn’t end there. My credit card wasn’t charged, I checked online and the available balance never decreased. So I decided to check with the next store on the list. Different shop name. Different phone number. Different price. Same deal — call in to complete the order. And who is on the other end? SAME GUY! He didn’t even know I was calling in about a separate order.

    I ended up ordering it from Amazon.com at the regular price and just paid the difference myself for her. But the experience has really shaken me up a bit. You have to be really careful.

  26. BW8 says:

    Great Service, Thank you so much…..

  27. anon says:

    Don Wiss is a piece of shit and he’ll get what he deserves.

  28. Baul says:

    There are too many people getting ripped off by Broadway Photo / Camera Kings! They bait and switch, don’t honor their pricing, and if they do give you the price you expect, watch out it may be grey market. Horrible companies, better off spending more elsewhere.

    Brian Gordon is a bitch.