On Friday, SFPD responded to a call of another thieving at the Castro's nearly 100-year-old cinema house. After the second break-in, police re-arrested a burglar previously detained concerning Tuesday's burglary.
This past Tuesday, March 29, around 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, a man was spotted inside the Castro Theatre by an SFPD officer, who was patrolling the 400 block of Castro Street; broken windows and missing signage prompted the officer to take quick action — preventing further damage done to the historic property. Three men were arrested on suspicion of breaking into the beloved movie house, including Gary Marx, 38, who was booked on suspicion of burglary.
It appears that Marx was, however, subsequently released earlier this week — because he was re-arrested Friday at around 4:45 p.m. for allegedly being responsible for the second vandalization of the Castro Theatre this week.
As reported by KTVU, Gary Marx, who was arrested for the first burglary five days ago, was detained again Friday at about 4:45 p.m. and taken into custody, according to police. The 38-year-old was booked on charges of "attempted burglary, vandalism, and possession of burglary tools."
"This is both heartbreaking and galling," said Mary Conde, Vice President for Bay Area small business Another Planet Entertainment to the news outlet. "Why this individual was allowed on the streets again is beyond my understanding and should be unacceptable. We are so grateful to the San Francisco Police for their continued vigilance and for again arresting this person. However, our system is failing us."
In total, it's estimated that both vandalizations collectively caused an estimated $45K in damages. Each break-in involved damage done to the theatre's doors, windows, and locks, as well as decorative wooden details. The leaded glass on the iconic freestanding box office has now been broken five times since January.
Though the Castro Theatre has recently gone to additional lengths to bolster the property's security, it's proven to not be enough. Now, it's likely a large metal gate will be erected in front of the cinema, effectively erasing the benevolent sights of impromptu performances and musical acts that regularly take place inside the theatre's open front space.
"We have tried to avoid installing a metal security gate across the front of the Castro's iconic entrance, but I don't believe we are now left with any choice," Conde said, noting that such a renovation would be costly.
Recently coming under the management of Another Planet Entertainment — the same company that both books and manages Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, The Independent, and Oakland's Fox Theatre — the Castro Theatre will be celebrating its centennial this June. It remains TBD if the aforenoted metal gate will be installed before the Theatre is expected to host the San Francisco International Film Festival, which kicks off on April 21.
Photo: Getty Images/kali9