'It wasn't just his camera. It was his lifestyle'

UPDATE: A KOMO viewer from Mill Creek saw this story and decided to replace Crick's stolen camera with his own 35 MM camera. After getting the new camera, Crick said, "I'm going to treasure this."

BOTHELL, Wash. -- You name it and Jerry Crick has probably taken a picture of it.

He started taking photos as a child and says the secret to a good picture is to see the image in your mind before you see it in the lens.

"It expresses your imagination in a way that nothing else can," he said of photography. "It gives you the freedom to create on your own terms."

Jerry spent several years as the head catalog photographer for REI, taking thousands of photos for the company through the lens of his Canon F-1 camera.

He fed his family with his work photography and also captured his loved ones in photos.

"We have our photo albums because of those cameras," said Jerry's wife, Barbara.

On Wednesday a thief broke into the Cricks' home while they were out for lunch and made off with the camera Jerry had since the 1980s.

"It wasn't just his camera. It was his lifestyle. It was his history," Barbara said.

Police are still investigating, but told the couple getting the camera back is going to be tough.

"I was angry. I felt violated and shock," Jerry said.

Jerry went into ministry after leaving REI, and he was diagnosed with a rare form of Parkinson's disease in 2005. But he still takes pictures of whatever he can get close to with his wheelchair.

"You broke my heart," he said of whoever stole the camera. "You didn't just steal something from me, please don't do it again to somebody else."

The couple said a laptop, a Kindle and jewelry box were also stolen. The camera that was taken has a Lake Placid Olympic engraving and was inside a bright orange Tempe Camera bag.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bothell police department.