Joker mask causes freak out at Boulder movie theater, teen facing charges


Boulder Police note in its news release that the suspect says he was aware of the Aurora theater shooting incident -- and that he was trying to frighten his friends.

A group reported him to a manager on-site after running away from the theater in fear and officers then responded and contacted the suspect.

The suspect admitted to police that he wore the mask to scare his friends and added that he wanted to dress as the "Joker" next year for Halloween. When police contacted him, he was carrying the mask and hat in a shopping bag.

Boulder Century Theater.jpeg
cinemark.com
Boulder Century Theater
No weapon was seen, no threats were made and no one was injured. But because five people ran from the theater, the suspect is facing menacing charges. He was arrested last night and taken to juvenile detention.

Boulder police are encouraging anyone who has information about the incident to call detectives at 303-441-3330.

Here's the full news release:

Boulder police have arrested a 17-year-old male and charged him with five counts of misdemeanor Menacing after a group of movie-goers at the Century Boulder Theater reported that they feared for their safety and left the building after the suspect donned a clown hat and a "Joker" mask inside one of the theaters. Century Boulder Theater is located at 1710 29th Street.

The group who reported the incident was so frightened that they ran from the theater, according to the theater's manager. Officers responded to the theater and contacted the suspect.

The suspect admitted to police that he wore the mask to scare his friends, and said he wanted to dress as the "Joker" next year for Halloween. He was carrying the mask and hat in a shopping bag when police contacted him. He was aware of the theater shooting that had occurred in Aurora.

No weapon was seen, no threats were made and no one was injured. However, because the five people reporting the incident felt imminent fear for their personal safety and ran from the theater because of their fear, the suspect is being charged with Menacing.

He was arrested this evening, Sunday, November 11, 2012. He was taken to juvenile detention. Because he is a minor, police cannot release information about his identity.

Anyone who was at the theater at the time of the incident and who has information or who would like to speak to police is encouraged to call Boulder Police detectives at 303-441-3330.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Scott Gessler says he's innocent as Ethics Commission begins investigation"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.


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34 comments
Lisa Hill
Lisa Hill

Somebody beat the crap outta that guy!

Mary Maybee
Mary Maybee

Long jail term, minor or not! Where are these minors parents?! This is way more than bad taste! I love movies and go all the time and now I am scared and sit by an exit every time I go and plan my escape route as soon as I sit down!

matchu
matchu

And he knew exactly what he was doing

matchu
matchu

It is illegal to yell "fire" in a crowded place, the concept is the same. He could have gotten someone killed by causing a mass scare and someone could have been trampled to death or he could have been shot. He wasn't charged for anything he didn't do, he was charged according to what he did, and that was being a menace.

Darci Davenport
Darci Davenport

Charged with what-having poor judgement? Heck then almost everyone I know would be in trouble?

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

He must of tea lied the reaction he would get so he should sit in jail a couple days to deter other idiots. It was mass murder

Ben Barr
Ben Barr

I would worry more about a guy in a joker mask with a gun, than a guy in a joker mask. Next, the War on "Costumes" Wouldn't want to be caught with clown makeup paraphernalia after that. Why so serious Boulder Theater?!

Liv Michaelson
Liv Michaelson

can't imagine that's actually against the law...

Trent Dozier
Trent Dozier

What he did was stupid considering the circumstances...but criminal charges are excessive...someone should just whoop his ass and he'll learn.

Jordan Cromwell
Jordan Cromwell

Good way to get an ass whooping or shot... Still not illegal though

Nick McGrail
Nick McGrail

they're being necessarily cautious. imagine being in a movie theater in colorado after that shit happens and someone walks in with a joker mask. everyone would freak out. it's not illegal to wear a mask, and in certain circumstances it's cool to wear a costume to a movie premier, but the very specific details of this kid's arrest definitely made him arrest worthy.

Marcus Netters
Marcus Netters

First I can no longer d dress up for midnight screenings of movies. Then every movie theatre has to tell me where exits are in the theatre. I'm going to blame Obama. But seriously this is stupid

Eric Goberman
Eric Goberman

Have they started enjoying their new pot law early ? Tasteless, Yes. Stupid, Yes. Illegal ? I don't think a joker mask counts as armed and dangerous. He didn't hide, run, lie, yell at everyone in theater, make any threatening actions or words. Hardly menacing.

Stacey Rogers
Stacey Rogers

Not respectful or wise, but arrest-worthy? Really?

Frank Tagader
Frank Tagader

Let him share a cell with James Holmes for a couple of weeks.

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

I see punishing the attitude, but there's no law against masks right?

Jame Koopman
Jame Koopman

Is it illegal or against theater policy?

Natasha Schwertley
Natasha Schwertley

We can fear innocent things and get people charged with menacing? Ok, well, I fear for my life if someone wears a green shirt. Therefore, everyone wearing a green shirt should be arrested. Makes as much sense....

Drew Sidener
Drew Sidener

I'd say he got the reaction he was seeking.

Denver Tina
Denver Tina

The teen faces charges for what exactly?

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

Does Boulder have a law against joker masks?

Sean Bracken
Sean Bracken

I think it was tasteless for him to do especially after the Aurora tragedy.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

When Masks are Outlawed, only Outlaws will have Masks!

 

Monkey
Monkey

 @matchu Like anyone who looks Arab, or pilots a jet after 9/11 should be considered a menace? I'm surprised trick or treaters weren't arrested for wearing joker masks. I bet if someone pulled a gun on this kid, we would hear all about how people are over reacting, but if they run away, a mask magically turns into a viable threat. I understand it was not appropriate, but menacing....please. Maybe if he was carrying toy guns or something, I'd go along with that.

observantreader
observantreader

 @Monkey  @matchu 

Definition of MENACE

1: a show of intention to inflict harm : threat

2a : one that represents a threat : danger

b : an annoying person

 

That would be a Yes on all three counts.  Sad when the state has to take over for parents who failed to teach their children decency. 

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