Friday, February 1, 2008

Viewers called 911
when TV host was held up on air.

Viewers of an Arkansas cable TV show helped Fort Smith police solve a crime in August, 2005 after they watched a robbery on live TV.

A man entered the TV set with a gun. Gary Spirito, host of the Shopping Mania Auction Show, first thought it was a prank. When the intruder demanded Spirito's car keys, Spirito informed his audience that it was not a joke: "There's a guy robbing us, somebody call the police, he came in with a gun. Somebody call police, there's a guy here trying to rob us."

Then Spirito addressed the intruder: "We're doing a live show here and there's probably hundreds of people out there right now calling the police to come down on this building."

Mary Schell watches the Shopping Mania Auction Show every night, and thought Spirito's call for help was a joke. Schell said: "Then I waited a minute after, and then I was like, 'No, he can't be joking. He can't be. Just call."

Spirito said the suspects escaped with nothing, but thanks to the 911 calls made by viewers, Fort Smith police caught two suspects.

Fort Smith police said Eddie Crisp and Timothy Suggs are accused of robbing Keith Cox, owner of the Legacy Motor Co., at 11 p.m. Thursday. About an hour later, police said the suspects robbed Spirito. The men face two counts of aggravated robbery and probation violations. (info from WISN TV)

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