A four-man tackle at the Lake Theatre, mid-movie

Drama unfolded on screen and in person during a showing of 'Knives Out'

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Moviegoers got more action than they bargained for at the 1:45 p.m. Knives Out showing at the Lake Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 7, when four men chased another down the aisle and tackled him. 

Leisa Marthaler was enjoying the film in the dark theater with her husband, when about 15 minutes into it, she heard a cry.

"I heard a faint woman's voice in the back saying, 'I need help!'" Marthaler said. "Then there were two people running toward the stage and then, all of a sudden, there were four people tackling a man."

The man sitting next to Marthaler got up and ran to the stage, as another moviegoer identified aloud as an FBI agent.

"Somebody said, 'FBI! Don't resist,'" she recalled. 

The tackled man was then escorted out of the theater by the four men who had knocked him down. 

Marthaler said the man sitting next to her went out in the lobby after them and didn't come back for a while. 

"What was weird though is that the woman seeing the movie with him, she was on the phone immediately, but I didn't hear the normal, 'I'm calling 911,'" she said. 

The woman was talking under her breath, which Marthaler found odd. 

"It was like she was ready to call, and then she also went to the lobby," Marthaler said. 

To her, it felt almost like a planned operation had just taken place.

"My husband and I were thinking, 'Did they know this perpetrator was going to do whatever he did?' It was like they were waiting for him," she said. 

"It all happened so fast. If it was just a purse snatching, I just can't believe that adults were that organized," Marthaler added.

According to Commander Shatonya Johnson, a patron called the Oak Park police because a man had taken a wallet out of his wife's purse. 

"They chased him around the theater and were able to hold him down until officers arrived," Johnson said.

The wallet was subsequently returned to the woman, who declined to press charges.

Classic Cinemas owner Chris Johnson said he was unable to confirm an FBI presence during the incident. 

"There was nothing that I can find out about that," he said. 

But Marthaler wasn't the only one who heard FBI at the show. Tom Hoover did as well and posted about it on Facebook later that day.

"Just after 'Knives Out' started, a chase down the aisle, four guys said FBI and caught a young man trying to get out," Hoover wrote. 

Both Marthaler and Hoover speculated that the incident could have been linked to the Lake Theatre robbery that occurred Nov. 18. However, police reports indicate no connection. 


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