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Fake robbery for film causes real police response

A film crew shooting a robbery scene without a permit at a liquor store in San Francisco's Cole Valley neighborhood almost caused a different kind of shooting by police who thought the robbery was real, a police captain said Thursday.

The incident was reported at 10:48 a.m. Wednesday at Alpha Market, located at 960 Cole St., said San Francisco police Capt. Denis O'Leary from the department's Park Station.

A passer-by called 911 and reported a masked gunman inside the store, O'Leary said.

Officers responded and found the man behind the store counter. He was pointing a gun at the ceiling of the store when the officers overpowered and disarmed him, O'Leary said.

At that point, the officers discovered the gun was a replica and that a crew was filming the scene from across the street. The Japan-based crew had gotten the store's permission to film but had not applied for a permit to shoot the scene from the San Francisco Film Commission, according to O'Leary.

Police confiscated the replica gun but did not arrest the man, a 41-year-old city resident.

“The guy's lucky he didn't get shot,” he said.

Officers also reported the incident to the Film Commission, O'Leary said.

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