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Movie theaters ban big bags; customers say it causes other safety problems

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Moviegoers will no longer be allowed to take big bags and purses inside Cinemark movie theaters. Tammy Leveaux found out the hard way when she recently approached the ticket window.

"I set my purse on the counter and the gal said 'you can't bring that in here.' and I said 'what?'"

The new corporate bag ban took effect February 22. It says bags or packages larger than 12" x 12" x 6" will not be allowed. The policy cites "safety and security" as the reason for the change. There are similar rules at concerts and sporting events.

There are three Cinemark theaters in Reno that now restrict bags:

  • The Cinemark Reno Summit Sierra (13965 S Virginia St.)
  • Century Reno Parklane 16 (210 E Plumb Lane)
  • Century Riverside Theater (1347, 11 N Sierra St.)

Tammy Leveaux's bag was the right size, but because the handle is long, the theater employee said it wasn't allowed. She feels the policy is unfair.

"They're picking on only one group of people, pretty much women," she said. "With my grandkids, I bring sippy cups and I pour the drinks in so we don't spill it all over in the movie theater, wipes, change of clothes, there's all kinds of things you bring when you have little kids with you and as a grandmother. I do that."

Cinemark said diaper bags and medical bags are excluded from the ban.

Leveaux said the new ban is creating another safety concern -- what she should do with her purse if she wanted to stay for a movie.

"I said 'what am I supposed to do?' and they said 'put in in your car' and I said' I'm not going to do that. Someone could break in and steal my purse and everything I own. "

She too decided to leave the theater and get a refund. Leveaux is sharing her story to get the word out before crooks figure it out.

But not everyone is opposed to the new rules.

"I think it's ok. I think we need some more security and I think there are too many loopholes. It's more inconvenient for me but I don't mind it," said Christine from Reno who was headed into a movie.

Mitchell Austin said he thought the new policy isn't really about guns.

"Oh it's about smuggling in drinks and candy. Give me a break."

Romina Flores tried to see a movie at the Riverside location and was told she was welcome to see a movie but she had to leave her bag behind.

"I don't like that. I always wear my big 'ole bag," she said. "I was just shocked. I've been coming to this theater forever."

Flores said she won't be back to that Cinemark theater.

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