CES 2010 ? one little event that was missed by most of the media and others at CES this year was the rampant theft that happened at numerous booths. We first heard about this when we stopped by Otterbox to hear about their new Tandem case for the Palm Pre. We noticed that our contact, Kristin Golliher, kept walking around showing us products with the Tandem sample in hand. When we jokingly asked about this we were told that someone had stolen their other demo sample the night before.

While I was not truly surprised I was disgusted that something like that would happen.  I took a quick tour to see how many others had experienced this type of theft. I was shocked at how many exhibitors had this happen. One vendor of memory cards and AV cables told me that they no longer bring real product to the shows. Everything they have displayed is a mockup to lower the impact of theft at the shows.  I asked if they had ever caught anyone in the act and if they were regular visitors, press or buyers. The answer was all of the above. Quite sad really when you think about it, but I was not sure if I wanted to believe this at the time.

Unfortunately, the proof was shown to me on the last day of the show. As the clock ticked near to the closing I wandered the floor to try and catch up with people I had not been able to see. While exhibitors were packing up and getting ready to head home I actually witnessed people taking things from displays. I even saw a few people that were wearing the blue press badge holders grabbing items and quickly stuffing them in their bags. For those of you that were at the show, this was not someone getting swag from the vendor, this was people taking things while no one was watching.

Now I know that this happens ?all the time? but it is still exceptionally sad and made even more so to find that members of the press [who are given access to a ton of free items] are involved in this practice. I hope that this is not common with members of the press as it shows a horrible lack of professionalism. After all how can you trust a group that has members that are willing to steal to get what they want?

Update - We have just been told that OCZ had its prototype USB 3.0 SSD stolen during an "invite only" party, as well as hearing that a fellow journalist had her new camera stolen.