Czech news crew robbed at gunpoint after landing in San Francisco to cover Biden’s APEC summit

A Czech public television news crew arrived in San Francisco to cover the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) but ended up being robbed at gunpoint, costing them $18,000 in equipment and at least a day's worth of footage.

Czech TV reporter Bohumil Vostal and a cameraman were busy taking pictures of the city's famous City Lights bookstore on Sunday when they were attacked at gunpoint around 5pm on Columbus Avenue.

One of the thieves pointed a gun at the cameraman's stomach, while another pointed one at Mr Vostal's head. The reporter quickly called 911, but the robbers left in a dark sedan once police arrived.

Speaking to San Francisco Chronicle, Mr. Vostal said the couple had to buy new equipment, including lights and wiring. They were forced to use the video on the cameraman's personal device.

The event dampens the reporter's vision of his trip to San Francisco, which was loosely inspired by Jack Kerouac On the road.

“I was so looking forward to visiting your city,” he told the newspaper.

Some of the lost footage included interviews with leaders in the city's transgender community, a conversation with a gallerist, and photographs of the Painted Ladies.

Despite the horrific events, Mr Vostal told the report he remains focused on covering APEC, which takes place in the city until Friday. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the summit on Wednesday.

Foreign correspondents from around the world traveled to the city for the summit, where the leaders are set to discuss the Ukraine and Middle East wars, among other issues.

Mr Vostal has been inundated with support from people far and wide, including San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who met with the couple on Monday for an interview, which was filmed on personal camera on a tripod.

Local news stations offered to let the duo borrow equipment. Mr Vostal said he hoped to get some equipment from the European Broadcasting Union.

“We have all kinds of people offering help,” the reporter said Chronicle. “They offer psychological help and send links to a fund for victims of gun violence.”

By Wednesday, it was back to work as usual. Around 1 o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Vostal was posted an update on X, formerly known as Twitter, letting people know he was still in town covering the day's events.

He plans to give another update around 10pm.