Foreign Camera Crew Robbed at Gunpoint in San Francisco

City Lights bookstore
The incident took place outside the City Lights bookstore in North Beach, San Francisco.

A Czech camera crew fell victim to the San Francisco crime wave as they were robbed outside a bookstore in broad daylight on Sunday evening.

S.F. police say that the camera crew was stopped by three people brandishing guns and demanded the crew’s equipment. The robbers got away with $18,000 worth of gear.

The incident happened outside the City Lights bookstore with the journalists and camera crew from the Czech Republic in San Francisco to cover this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

The police arrived on the scene within two minutes of being called but the suspects had already fled in a vehicle.

“They were heading at my cameraman, aiming a gun at his stomach, and one at my head,” one of the Czech journalists, Bohumil Vostal, tells the San Francisco Chronicle.

Vostal tells the newspaper that he had spent the day capturing shots of the city and interviewing its residents — all of that footage is now lost.

The robbery comes at a bad time for the city as officials seek to welcome foreign journalists who are covering the APEC summit and aim to show the city in a good light — despite its well-documented problems with crime.

Vostal says that workers and residents of San Francisco have expressed shame and a sense of personal responsibility that the crime happened to them.

“All the people of San Francisco are almost blaming themselves, like they are so sorry for something they didn’t do,” he tells the Chronicle.

A spokesperson for San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s office says: “We don’t want anyone in our city to be a victim of any crime, whether they are a visitor or a resident.”

Jeff Cretan tells The San Francisco Standard: “Our police department is actively investigating this case, and we know that when an arrest is made, our district attorney has taken a strong position of aggressively prosecuting crimes like these.”

In September, photographer and filmmaker Justin Schuck slammed San Francisco police after $24,000 worth of his camera equipment ended up at a known fencing operation that police knew about but had not acted on.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.