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News Crews in San Francisco Got Robbed on Live TV Yesterday

The viewing public heard a reporter yell, "Don't shoot, don't shoot!"

The scene of the crimes, via Wikimedia Commons user BrokenSpehere

On Thursday morning, two TV news crews were mugged in San Francisco. One of them was broadcasting live at that very moment, attempting to report on a murder that took place in the same spot Wednesday night. It was just the latest episode in a recent spate of Bay Area crimes targeting TV news crews and their high-end equipment, as KTVU Fox—one of the outlets that got robbed— reported.

The Fox station had just cut to anchor Cara Liu as she was preparing to detail recent developments in the murder of a 31-year-old woman when she said, "Hold on, hold on, wait," leaving the home audience hanging. Liu looked concerned about something happening off to her left.


The shot lingered on San Francisco's Pier 14 for a moment while something unfolded offscreen. Then a different woman could be heard yelling, "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!"

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed the crews, and was able to piece together what couldn't be seen: The frightened woman was Kris Sanchez, a reporter from the Fox station's local NBC competitor, KNTV. Sanchez and her camera operator named Alan Waples were in the process of setting up their own shot when a man came up behind Waples and aimed a gun at his head.

Meanwhile, the Fox anchor broadcasting from the studio, Brian Flores, asked Liu what, exactly, was going on. "Sorry, there's an incident out here," she said as she and her cameraman tried to help out the rival crew.

Waples was then pistol-whipped, and the assailant grabbed his camera and tripod, stuffing it into a black BMW 7-series, according to the Chronicle. The assailant then pistol-whipped Waples again and told him to stay down. All the pistol-whipping left the camera operator with a nasty gash behind his ear, and a bruise on his arm.

No other injuries were reported.

When Liu and her own camera operator, Keith Crook, jumped into the fray, the robber apparently seized the opportunity to abscond with their gear, as well. The assailant reportedly left behind an ammunition clip.

This has been happening a lot in the Bay Area lately. A crew had their gear stolen last month in Oakland while they were getting lunch before an NBA telecast. In February, a Fox TV news crew was robbed of their equipment in nearby Hayward. According to the Chronicle's coverage of this incident, in August of last year, Liu was bludgeoned by a woman in East Oakland while preparing to report on another murder.

A broadcast-quality TV camera and tripod fetch about $20,000 total, so even though they're bulky—and the robberies run the risk of being broadcast to thousands of people—there's obviously money to be made fencing this kind of equipment.

Want Some In-Depth Articles About Crime?

1. Talking to a Chicago Crime Reporter About Covering the City's Murders 2. Fear, Paranoia, and Relief: Dealing with the Police as a Woman of Color 3. New York City Is Creating a Bail Fund to Help People Get Out of Jail
4. Australian Government Contractors Will Now Go to Jail for Reporting Child Abuse in Detention Centers

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