The Czech TV crew that was robbed at gunpoint after flying to San Francisco to cover the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit has met with Mayor London Breed.
Journalist Bohumil Vostal and his colleagues were attacked by three masked men outside the well-known City Lights bookstore at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
They covered the summit in San Francisco, where robberies rose 13.7 percent year over year, before $18,000 worth of equipment was stolen and an entire day’s worth of footage was lost.
The news crew met with Mayor Breed at City Hall on Monday and interviewed her using a small personal camera mounted on a tripod.
After the violent robbery, there was a lot of support from colleagues, residents and city leaders.
The Czech TV crew who were robbed at gunpoint after flying to San Francisco to cover the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit has met with Mayor London Breed
Journalist Bohumil Vostal and his colleagues were attacked by three masked men outside the well-known City Lights bookstore at 5 p.m. on Sunday
The news crew covered the summit in San Francisco, where robberies rose 13.7 percent year over year, before $18,000 worth of equipment was stolen and an entire day’s worth of footage was lost
Vostal and a cameraman were taking pictures of the bookstore when three men wearing masks over their faces approached them with guns.
“They went up to my cameraman, pointed a gun at his stomach and one at my head,” he said The San Francisco Chronicle.
“I’m one of the many people who read ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac and I was so looking forward to visiting your city,” he said, adding that they had been having a fantastic day up until that point.
But TV journalist Vostal said they have been overwhelmed by the response to the attack.
“There are all kinds of people offering to help,” he told the newspaper.
‘They offer psychological help and send links to a fund for victims of gun violence.
“All the people in San Francisco almost blame themselves, like they’re so sorry for something they didn’t do.
“They really did their best, but at the moment we are completely focused on the top.”
News outlets have offered to donate equipment and Vostal said he hoped to collect lights and other items from the European Broadcasting Union.
City officials gathered around the Czech television crew and were granted an interview with Mayor Breed, who apologized.
“They were attentive and friendly,” her spokesperson said, recalling the interview with the men.
He added that he was impressed that they did not dwell on the armed robbery, but focused their questions around the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
“San Franciscans have been so welcoming, including many news crews,” Breed told a reporter on the tarmac of San Francisco International Airport as she waited to greet President Joe Biden.
She praised TV stations that offered to help the Czech crew, as well as police who rushed to the scene and launched an investigation.
San Francisco officials were seen interacting with a camp resident during their cleanup efforts on Saturday
The cleanup has left several crime hotspots virtually unrecognizable, leaving many wondering why similar efforts weren’t undertaken sooner
In similar incidents, the suspects were arrested and the stolen equipment was recovered. Breed said, “I hope we can do the same.”
Vostal is still angry about the footage lost in the heist, but he and the cameraman do their best to move on.
The crew previously took photos of the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square; interviewed gallery owner Jonathan Carver Moore; and met with community figures in the Transgender District near South of Market and the Tenderloin.
They filmed stand-up shots for stories about Biden’s meeting with Chinese leaders Tuesday and plan to pick up new equipment before dark to film the breakfast show for Czech public television.
But this time, Vostal added, “I think we’ll be closer to the police.”
Board of Supervisors Chairman Aaron Peskin wrote a letter to Vostal and the crew, saying he would take them on a walking tour of North Beach and take them to dinner Tuesday night after a meeting.
He said a robbery at gunpoint “is horrible any day of the week and triple horrible when it happens to foreign (correspondents) who are here for APEC.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom boasted about his work to “clean up” San Francisco ahead of the APEC summit – hours before the Czech television crew scheduled to cover the summit were robbed of their cameras at gunpoint.
Protesters hold posters during the ‘No to APEC’ protest on the sidelines of the conference
Some protesters branded Xi a dictator and demanded he liberate Tibet, adding: “Your time is up!”
He said efforts were underway to improve safety in the crime-ridden city, where businesses are fleeing an empty downtown.
“I know people are saying, ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning this place up because all these fancy leaders are coming to town,’” Newsom said late last week.
“That’s true, because it’s true – but it’s also true that we had conversations for months and months and months leading up to APEC.”
He added: “By definition you have people in your home, you’re going to clean the house.
“We have 21 world leaders; tens of thousands of people come from all over the world.
‘What an opportunity to highlight the most special place in the world: San Francisco.’
The city is bracing for protests, and on Sunday activists angry about corporate profits, environmental abuses, poor working conditions and the war between Israel and Hamas marched in downtown San Francisco.
More protests are expected during the summit.