Backstage theft at Los Angeles music and theater venues has become so widespread that the union representing stagehands has had to warn members to stop stealing on the job. The union, IATSE Stage Technician Local 33, reps stage workers at such venues as the Hollywood Bowl, Staples Center, Pantages Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson, Greek Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and the Dolby Theatre.
“Theft in the workplace has been happening regularly at the various venues,” said Mark Madrigal, the local’s theatre business rep, in a message on the local’s website. “Whomever it may be, when caught, you shall be punished to the fullest of Local 33’s abilities.”
Madrigal described this as a “very serious issue” but said his message was intended to be available to “members only.” Instead it was posted on the local’s home page. Its 1,500 members work as stagehands for the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys, and on TV shows including The Price Is Right, America’s Got Talent, The Young And The Restless, General Hospital and Days Of Our Lives.
“It’s just a warning,” Madrigal told Deadline, noting that there have been no substantiated thefts by his members. Sometimes, he said, “tools and other people’s belongings” turn up missing, but because there often is nowhere backstage for workers to store their things, anyone could have stolen the items. “If we find out it was a member, they will be disciplined,” he said. “If it was a probationary member, they won’t work again.”