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Suspects sought in movie theatre fire prank | Crime

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Suspects sought in movie theatre fire prank

Brooksville, Florida -- The Hernando County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help identifying those responsible for tampering with numerous fire suppression devices at a Brooksville theater Saturday night.

On July 13, around 11:45 p.m., deputies say theaters #1 and #4 of Beacon Theaters were relatively crowded at Beacon Theaters for the final showings when the fire alarm sounded. At the same time, the suspects removed the fire extinguishers from their cases and activated them inside the crowded theaters while the sprinklers in the hallway were tripped.

As soon as the fire alarm sounded, all guests began to exit the building through the emergency exits. All theater staff quickly began to check all theaters to make sure everyone was out of each theater. During the chaos of everyone evacuating the building, the suspects were able to exit the building undetected.

Hernando County Fire Rescue responded and did a complete sweep of the premises. They determined there was never any fire present in any theater or in the building as a whole.

"This incident, at first blush, may seem like a childhood prank. The reality is, however, that these suspects cost this business a lot of money and put many lives at risk," said Sheriff Al Nienhuis. "I certainly hope that any witnesses to this event come forward, so these individuals can be held accountable."

Deputies say preliminary estimates of property damage to the business are in excess of $20,000.

Detectives are asking anyone that observed anyone or anything suspicious inside or outside the Beacon Theaters to please call the Hernando County Sheriff's Office immediately.  If you want to remain anonymous, please call Hernando County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-990-TIPS (8477) or submit your tip at http://www.hernandosheriff.org/Tips. You will remain anonymous and also be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 cash!


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