Four people have been charged with vandalizing a St. Joseph movie theater last month, which police said was some of the worst damage they've ever seen in one place.
Police say former manager Joshua Hall, co-manager Buck Wilson, employee Michael Wilson, and Edward Hudson are responsible for destroying thousands of dollars of property inside the Screenland Plaza 8 Theater.
The theater permanently closed its doors on March 2, and by the next day, the place was broken into and trashed.
The inside of the theater looked like the aftermath of a wild action scene, with smashed ceiling tiles, broken glass, wiring ripped out, and slashed movie screens.
Police say a theater employee discovered the break-in Monday March 3, but no one called to report the incident until Tuesday, when Hall reported it as a burglary. Police took Hall into custody on suspicion of burglary, property damage and filing a false police report.
According to court documents, witnesses said Hall, the former manager, took an active role in the destruction and allowed others to help him destroy the theater. The damage included the lobby, bathrooms, hallways and concession areas.
The Plaza 8 Theater held decades of memories for people in St. Joseph. One man grew up going to movies there 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 R.J. Jackson.
Jackson is now a film student at Missouri Western State University. He closely followed the news that Plaza 8 was closing after years of structural problems and financial problems.
"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."
Residents are hoping to get another similar venue to continue those memories.
KCTV5's Alice Barr contributed to this report.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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