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Police arrest man suspected of robbing, assaulting California news crews

San Francisco police announced this week the arrest of a man in connection with a pair of robberies involving two television news crews.

Michael Jones, 23, was taken into custody on July 27 after a chase that began at a hotel in Fremont, a town 30 miles outside of San Francisco. Police said Jones was being held in connection with grand theft, aggravated, conspiracy and several outstanding warrants on drug, burglary and hit and run charges.

In early July, television stations were broadcasting live from San Francisco’s Embarcadero in relation to a story involving the shooting death of a local woman by an undocumented worker. During the morning news broadcasts, police say Jones pointed a firearm at a news crew from NBC station KNTV (Channel 11), assaulting the photographer and stealing camera equipment.

Audio of the ordeal was broadcast live on FOX station KTVU (Channel 2). When KTVU’s reporter and photographer rushed to assist their colleagues at KNTV, police say Jones assaulted KTVU’s photographer and stole his camera equipment.

At a press conference on August 12, police said a black BMW used in the crime clued detectives in to Jones’ identity. It was not immediately clear why police waited nearly two weeks to announce the rest or if they immediately identified Jones in connection with the assaults on the news crews. Police said they have not yet recovered the stolen equipment.

News crews from throughout Northern California have been subjected to assaults and thefts over the last few years, often in broad daylight and sometimes on live television. Reporters and photographers from KRON-TV (Channel 4), KPIX-TV (Channel 5) and KGO-TV (Channel 7) have either been assaulted, had camera equipment stolen or both.

Shortly after the assaults began, stations began offering hiring security guards to protect crews dispatched to areas with a reputation for violent crime. Police said this week they are also working with stations to equip their gear with tracking devices.


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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering the business of television and radio broadcasting, streaming services and the overall media industry. In addition to his work as publisher of The Desk, Matthew contributes regularly to StreamTV Insider and KnowTechie, and has worked for several well-known news organizations, including Thomson Reuters, McNaughton Newspapers, Grasswire, Comstock's magazine, KTXL-TV and KGO-TV. Matthew is a member of IRE, a trade organization for investigative reporters and editors, and is based in Northern California.

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