LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A grandfather faces charges after losing a loaded handgun at a Long Island movie theater, police say.
John Abatz, 66, was babysitting Tuesday when he brought his loaded Beretta handgun into a matinee showing of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” at Long Beach Cinema 4, according to authorities.
The gun fell out of an ankle holder and landed in an aisle. Two 9-year-old girls found the gun and alerted the management, who called the police, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.
“They did everything that a responsible adult would do and they’re only 9 years old,” Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tagney said.
Police checked the serial number and called Abatz to the lobby, where he was arrested.
“When they asked him, ‘where did you lose your gun?’ he says, ‘somewhere between Park Avenue and my seat,'” Tagney said.
The weapon was registered to Abatz, but he did not have a carry permit, police said.
CBS2 briefly spoke with Abatz at his Oceanside home, where he said he had nothing to say. Lou Young reported that he seemed embarrassed.
Some residents said the incident was unsettling.
“It was pretty scary to find there was a gun in our movie theater,” Sam Pinto said.
“I’m not really comfortable with guns in the movie theater,” Alice Leybengruber said. When asked whether she would hypothetically let Abatz babysit anymore she replied, “that’s tough.”
“He’d be on temporary restriction with re-training,” Sam Pinto said.
Abatz will be in court next month.