Seven members of a filmmaking collective were robbed Wednesday night at gunpoint inside a Bywater movie theater that is scheduled to open soon, according to police and one of the facility’s owners.
Hayley Sampson, one of the founders of the Indywood Cinema, said that the members of a filmmaking group were gathered inside the theater when a someone entered the building at about 8:30 p.m.
Police said the victims, six men and a woman ranging in age from 18 to 30, were ordered to the ground and forced to hand over their property. Sampson said her brother, Will, was among those forced to hand over goods.
Officers were on the scene before one of the victim’s had even ended a 911 call, Sampson said.
Indywood was previously located on Elysian Fields Avenue. The Sampsons and volunteers are now building out a new space for the theater in the 3400 block of St. Claude Avenue. Sampson said she and her brother intend to speed up plans to buy security cameras and install lighting.
Police reported another armed robbery Wednesday night just blocks away, although they have not said whether the two incidents are connected.
Shortly before 7 p.m., police said, an armed robber walked into a location in the 1400 block of Montegut Street and forced two men, ages 29 and 30, and a woman, age 29, to hand over property. The perpetrator fled with $4, a credit card and a cellphone, police said in an offense log.
In a separate incident, police said a 28-year-old man was robbed of his cellphone as he stood in his front yard in the 1600 block of Paul Morphy Street near the Fair Grounds about 11:40 p.m.
Police also said that a 33-year-old man was robbed near the corner of Dauphine Street and Esplanade Avenue about 3:45 a.m. The victim was approached by two men and a woman, police said. One of the men, who was armed with a gun, demanded the man’s wallet. Police said the victim was punched in the back of the head and in the face, and the group fled with his wallet. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.