Ceiling tiles in a St. Joseph movie theater were smashed and some movie screens were shredded. Police have the theater manager in custody, questioning him about burglary, property damage and possibly making a false police report.
ST. JOSEPH, MO (KCTV) -
The Plaza 8 Theaters holds decades of memories for people in St. Joseph.
But on Sunday, the theater closed for good, and by the next day, the place was broken into and trashed. Investigators say it is some of the worst damage they've ever seen in one place.
It looks like the aftermath of a wild action scene inside the theater, with smashed ceiling tiles, broken glass, wiring ripped out and slashed movie screens.
But what's actually playing out there has enough plot twists of its own.
St. Joseph police have the theater's manager in custody for questioning for an investigation ranging from burglary, to property damage and possibly making a false police report.
The manager had not been charged yet as of Tuesday night.
"I really couldn't see him wanting to destroy the place," said one Plaza 8 regular, Amanda Blevins.
It made for some head-scratching dinner conversation at nearby CiCi's Pizza, where dinner and a movie has been a generations-long tradition.
One diner there, R.J. Jackson, grew up going to Plaza 8 movies with his granddad.
"Just going into a true cinema and having memories, smelling the popcorn. It's things you can't do staring at your computer screen with Netflix," said Jackson as he described his memories there.
Jackson is now a film student at Missouri Western State University. He closely followed the news Plaza 8 would be closing, after years of structural problems and a push toward costly digital projection.
They closed for good on Sunday. Police say a theater employee discovered the break-in Monday morning, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. Investigators say no one called police to report the incident until Tuesday.
"When I found out about the actual closure it was sad," said Jackson. "When I found out that it was broken into and vandalized, it was gut-wrenching."
"I guess I had this hope that maybe they would open it again, and now there's no way, not with the damage on top of everything," Blevins added.
Residents are hoping the community might be able to draw in another similar venue that offers low-cost movie tickets to keep the memories going.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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