Theater Seat-Saving Incident Ends in Citation

Theater Seat-Saving Incident Ends in Citation

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AMERICAN FORK, Utah (AP) -- Saving seats in a movie theater isn't uncommon, but becoming argumentative when asked to release them apparently is worth a citation.

David and Molly Dean were cited for disorderly conduct last Thursday after refusing to give up seats they were saving for family members to see the latest installment of "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King."

David Dean paid $54 for nine tickets, but some family members were to arrive later in different groups. When the movie started, there were still two empty seats and the usher declared them up for grabs.

The Deans objected, and police said Molly Dean confronted a woman who took one of the seats.

"We were 20 minutes into the movie when two police officers came to the end of the row and pointed at us," Molly Dean said.

American Fork Police Lt. Darren Falslev said the Deans were cited because they were very uncooperative and lucky to come away with only a minor citation.

"They were extremely argumentative," Falslev said. "At one point, an individual was grabbed by her coat and asked to leave her seat. They gave a lot of problems to the officers."

The Deans missed the first hour of the show, and then sought and received a refund from the suburban Salt Lake City theater.

The theater chain's policy is to ask people to move together and free up seats if any are empty 15 minutes before a show starts, said Terrell Falk, Cinemark's corporate vice president of marketing communications.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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