(DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI / FILE PHOTO)

By TALIA WIENER
wiener@montclairlocal.news

A report of a possible armed robbery Tuesday turned out to be four juveniles making a short film, police said.

On Tuesday night, Oct. 5, a man observed what he believed to be an armed robbery in progress inside of Empire Nutrition on Valley Road, Sgt. Terence Turner said. The man called the police.

Officers responded and located four juveniles inside of the business with masks and imitation firearms, Turner said. The officers determined that they were filming a short film inside of the business and had permission to be there from the business owner.

Signs had been placed outside of the business advising people that a movie shoot was taking place, however the man who called said he did not see those signs, Turner said.

SAVE MONTCLAIR LOCAL: We need your support, and we need it today. The journalism you value from Montclair Local, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, depends on the community's support — we exist because the old model of selling ads alone just can't fund journalism at the level we endeavor to provide. That's why you've seen other local newsrooms cut back staff or shut down entirely. Montclair Local was created because we believe that's unacceptable; the community's at its best when triumphs are celebrated, when power is held to account, when diverse lived experiences are shared — when the community is well-informed.

Montclair is seeking to raise $230,000 from donors, members and grantors between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 to put us on firm footing for 2022, and continue supporting the hard work of our journalists into the new year and beyond. Visit MontclairLocal.news/donations to see how we're doing and make your contribution.

The teens remained in temporary police custody at the scene, while officers assessed the situation and eventually determined there was no armed robbery or threat to the public, Turner said. They were then released to their parents or guardians, he said.

“It is standard practice that whenever a juvenile is in the custody of the police, whether for a criminal offense or not, that they be released to a parent, guardian, or other responsible party,” he said in an email to Montclair Local.

He said given the late hour, “I’m sure all parties involved thought it was best to wrap things up for the night” but police would have had no objection to letting the teens continue filming, so long as the property owner and their parents allowed it.

This story has been updated to reflect further replies from Sgt. Terence Turner regarding officers’ decision to release the teens to their parents.