Man detained for lighting a firework outside a theater for a proposal

A man who set off fireworks near a movie theater as his friend made a marriage proposal created panic among moviegoers who mistook the fireworks for gunshots, leading to 911 calls and an evacuation, authorities said.

Howell Township police in New Jersey responded to the Xscape Theater around 6pm Wednesday and learned the theater manager had confronted the man responsible for lighting the firework.

Nathan Sanders, 23, was detained and released from police custody after it was learned that he had lit the fireworks for a friend’s marriage proposal. 

Howell Township police responded to the Xscape Theater around 6pm Wednesday and evacuated the theater after getting calls of gunshots

It was learned that he lit the firework while at the Climb Zone, which police describe as being adjacent to the movie theater. 

The Lakewood man was charged with a fireworks infraction and disorderly conduct. 

Police found remnants of the fireworks, and it was determined that no shots had been fired. 





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Authorities soon learned 23-year-old Nathan Sanders lit fireworks outside of the Climb Zone – adjacent to the movie theater – for a friend’s marriage proposal

It was determined, however, that the particular firecracker that was used is illegal to use in the area.

While noting there was no intent to cause panic at the theater, a post on the Howell police Facebook page stated that ‘obviously this was a very poor decision rather than an overt act.’ 

No injuries were reported. 


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