Police Steal Scene in Airport Film Shoot

Police cars with lights blazing and sirens blaring descended on Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Startford, Connecticut on Saturday, following reports of a dozen armed men of "Middle Eastern origin" on the tarmac.

What authorities found instead was the crew of a low- budget independent film called Soldier in the Shadows. Crew members were dressed in dark coloured clothing and carrying large black rifles. The political thriller is shot in a post 9-11 world that involves a former Delta Force operative searching for an Arabic terrorist in New York City.

Stamford resident Kit Redding, who is co-producing the feature film with Umo and David Olivera, said they were shooting one of the last scenes at the airport around noon when police in about six cruisers burst onto the tarmac.

"The scene involved an Arab extremist who is trying to get away in a Lear jet with some important information," Redding said.

The film crew began shooting at the airport on Friday and wrapped up Saturday. Kurt Sendlein, superintendent of operations for the airport, said it was an embarrassing miscommunication that resulted in the response by both the Stratford and Bridgeport police departments.

He said a pilot who saw several armed men of Middle Eastern descent near the planes contacted the control tower. The tower personnel, however, failed to tell the pilot about the movie and the pilot then called 911.

"The pilot did what he was supposed to do," Sendlein said. "He saw something that was suspicious and he contacted the authorities. Unfortunately, we had a breakdown in communication. It was more of an embarrassment than anything."

Sendlein said the airport is registered with the Connecticut film office as a movie location. Production crews rent portions of the airport "a few times a year," he said. Robin Goldsmith, an actor in the film, said police "figured out pretty quickly" that the men were actually shooting a movie once they had arrived on the scene.