4 People Questioned in Movie Theater ‘Leaf Blower' Prank

At least three people reported minor injuries after the incident on Aug. 8 during a showing of "The Gift" at a theater in Newport Beach

Four people suspected of cranking up a leaf blower during a movie screening in Newport Beach, California, last week have turned themselves in to police and were cooperating with detectives, authorities said.

The four — three males and a female between the ages of 15 and 20 — allegedly were behind the prank during an Aug. 8 showing of "The Gift" at the Edwards Big Newport 6 movie theater in Newport Beach, police said. No one has been charged with a crime. 

One of them entered the theater through an emergency door, holding a leaf-blower over his head, police said in a news release. He yelled, shook the leaf-blower, revved its engine to "create a loud and disturbing noise," and left through an emergency exit, authorities said.

The audience panicked and rushed out, injuring movie goers in the process.

Theater management was alerted when an alarm went off and from people running out, police said.

Officers responded to the theater and set up a perimeter. After a check of the theater and surrounding area, police determined the group disappeared, officials said.

Theater management beefed up security after the incident and workers began checking bags for concealed weapons. Theatergoers, with the specter of a massacre that claimed 12 lives and wounded 70 during a midnight screening of a Batman movie in Colorado in 2012, described total chaos.


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Police said they believe the four people were at a fast-food restaurant in Irvine in a silver Ford truck about an hour before the incident at the movie theater.

Police said the group had turned on a leaf-blower there and pointed it at people to try to get a reaction, officials said.

The group then went to the Edwards theater.

Police said they connected the four to a silver Ford full-size pickup truck with four doors.

They have not been identified.

Jason Kandel contributed to this report.

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