Film Shoot Mistaken for Coffee Shop Armed Robbery

Frightened shop patrons call 911 when they spot masked men with what appear to be guns

By Patrick Healy
|  Friday, Aug 2, 2013  |  Updated 9:46 AM PDT
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A patron visiting Classic Coffee in Glendora called police after she saw two masked men with what appeared to be guns near the shop. Police responded to what they thought was an armed robbery to learn the

A patron visiting Classic Coffee in Glendora called police after she saw two masked men with what appeared to be guns near the shop. Police responded to what they thought was an armed robbery to learn the "robbers" were actors. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Aug. 1, 2013.

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Imagine you’re walking toward your favorite coffee shop when you see two masked men outside the entrance with what appear to be firearms.

That’s what happened to a Glendora patron Thursday morning when she happened upon what she later learned was an unauthorized movie shoot.

"My brain went from the masks straight to the hand and there was a gun," said Linda Bergslian, who ran back to her car and called 911.

The men were actually carrying airsoft pellet guns, but the telltale orange tip that shows the guns are not real had been removed or covered.

The “armed” pair were actors in a short film, but police didn’t know that.

"By all intents and purposes, this was an armed robbery, and officers responded as such," said Capt. Tim Staab, with the Glendora Police Department.

Staab said the filmmakers did not have the proper permits to film at the shop, and didn’t tell police of their plans.

“Kind of important things to do,” he said.

One of the actors froze and did not immediately drop his replica gun – a hesitation that could have led to a deadly shooting, police said.

"It was at that moment that the officers' training kicked in. One officer reached out and pulled it out of his hand and put both suspects down on the ground," Staab said.

Bergslian said she shudders to think what could’ve happened.

"It terrifies me that one of those boys could have been killed. I hope they've learned that you can't mess with guns that look like they're real," she said.

According to Glendora's website, an $828 film permit is not required if you can do your shoot without disturbing public peace and safety.

Classic Coffee management declined comment.

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