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First to Report: CBS Sacramento crew robbed, injured following live broadcast

A screen capture from a TV segment from the U.C. Davis campus minutes before police said the news crew was robbed. Photo: KOVR/KMAX/The Desk

A Sacramento television station crew was the victim of a brazen robbery early Thursday morning after delivering a live broadcast on a domestic violence awareness campaign.

University police in Davis said the crew was robbed around 5:10 a.m. along Tennis Court Lane. According to a news release, an unknown suspect approached a camera that was set up on a tripod and grabbed the equipment before fleeing to a nearby vehicle. A brief struggle ensued before the suspect was able to get away with the equipment.

The victim in the incident sustained minor injuries, police said. Details of the robbery was reported by the Davis Enterprise newspaper based on the news release issued by police earlier in the morning.

Police did not name the news crew that was targeted by the alleged thieves, but sources confirmed to The Desk on Thursday that reporter Dina Kupfer and photojournalist Scott Zentner of KOVR (Channel 13) were involved. Video footage reviewed by The Desk showed Kupfer and Zentner were broadcasting a segment on a domestic violence awareness campaign at U.C. Davis minutes before the alleged robbery.

After The Desk identified the crew Thursday morning, Kupfer told the Sacramento Bee she was “shaken” but otherwise unharmed. Zentner later gave an interview to the newspaper in which he admitted the suspected thieves took advantage of his decision to leave the station’s broadcast equipment unattended while he worked to fix a technical problem inside the crew’s live truck.

Zentner estimated the cost of the equipment to be around $16,000. He said the injuries that he sustained were the result of being hit both by the camera’s tripod and by the suspect’s SUV.

Reached by phone on Thursday, a KOVR employee declined to provide information about the incident. KOVR General Manager Justin Draper has not yet returned an email seeking comment. Employees at three other stations — KCRA (Channel 3), KXTV (Channel 10) and KTXL (Channel 40) — said they did not have crews in Davis at the time of the robbery.

Police described the suspect as an African-American male between the ages of 20 and 30 who was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue surgical gloves. Police say the suspect is believed to be around 6’2″ tall and weigh 230 pounds. Authorities said the suspect had an accomplice who acted as the getaway driver, but police did not provide a description on that individual.

Both the suspect and the accomplice were seen driving a black compact SUV toward Russell Boulevard. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the U.C. Davis Police Department at (530) 754-2677.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).