San Fran Thieves Target TV News Crews; Stations Hire Armed Security
KRON TV reporter Jeff Bush was reporting with his crew in San Francisco's Bayview district when two men confronted him and demanded his computer and camera equipment. Police have arrested two 19-year-olds, Armani McFarland and John Woods, on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy.
The incident is the latest in a string of incidents involving TV crews in the bay area. The Guardian details one particularly brazen episode in which viewers actually saw a camera confiscation during a live report: "a KPIX crew was filming outside a school in Oakland at noon and were live on air when five men descended on them and grabbed the camera from their tripod." (see video below)
The union representing TV crews has demanded increased security for its employees sent out to cover events in San Francisco and Oakland, but despite the new measures, the incidents continue to occur. Last month, a KGO-TV crew was robbed at gunpoint in West Oakland. The thieves made off with expensive camera equipment and left the journalists and crew laying on the ground in fear for their lives as the muggers fled.
It is important to note that to protect the reporters and their crew, the news departments have hired armed security who, in the case of the KRON incident, actually turned their guns on the assailants and injured one with a gun shot wound.
The security guard working with the reporter fired shots at the robbers and one of the robbers was hit. Both robbers took off in a car.