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News crew attacked with pepper spray

San Francisco police are seeking two robbers who pepper-sprayed a Univision Channel 14 news crew and stole their camera in the Mission District on Monday. The robbery was reported at about 6:25 p.m. in the 1100 block of Valencia.

The crew, which consisted
of four men between the ages of 28 and 61, was breaking down their
equipment after filming in the area when two male suspects believed to
be in their late teens ran up from behind and pepper-sprayed them,
according to police.

The robbers then took the camera and fled west toward San Jose Avenue, police said.

The victims were treated at the scene for eye irritation and then released.

The robbery was the latest in a series of attacks of TV news crews in the Bay Area.  In August, a KGO-TV crew was robbed of their camera gear in broad daylight in Oakland. In September, an armed security guard traveling with a KRON news crew in San Francisco foiled an attempted robbery and shot one of the suspects.

TV stations have been hiring private security guards to travel with news crews in high-crime areas.

SFGate reported in November that stolen TV cameras sometimes end up with porn producers. “Turns out stolen TV news cameras are popular among porn purveyors and in overseas markets, where questions are less likely to be asked,” the SFGate item stated without attribution.

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