The AMC Academy 8 Theater in Beltway Plaza was evacuated and closed for over three hours on Tuesday afternoon when a burglary suspect being pursued by the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGCPD) hid in the ceiling space to avoid the police, according to Greenbelt Police spokesperson George Mathews.
Prince George’s County Police had the suspect under surveillance in Laurel, said a PGCPD representative, and they notified the Greenbelt Police when the suspect entered the Franklin Park Apartments area around 3:30 p.m., per Mathews. The young black male suspect then ran over to the movie theater and climbed a scaffold to get into the ceiling of the building. The few people in the theater were quickly evacuated and the theater was closed and, according to Mathews, the rest of the mall was unaffected. Several Greenbelt police responded to the theater, including two hostage negotiator officers who joined the several dozen county officers on the scene. “Ceiling panels were falling down while the officers were trying to talk him down,” said Mathews.
At one point the county officers were preparing to respond in force and readied their tactical unit when the suspect “decided to come down and was taken into custody without incident,” said Mathews.