A massive “flash mob” of dozens of looters ransacked a 7-Eleven in California this week, cops said.
LA police are hoping to put a stop to the crime tactic before it becomes an even bigger trend.
Video of the August 15 chaos shows dozens of people inside the store rampaging through the aisles.
A massive ‘flash mob’ of dozens of looters ransacked and vandalized a 7-Eleven in California this week in a filmed ‘street takeover’ that left a worker inside the convenience store in fear for his life, authorities said.
And now the local police want to stop the crime tactic before it becomes an even bigger trend.
The chaos unfolded around 12:40 a.m. Monday at the Los Angeles store, according to the Los Angeles Police Departmentwho later released surveillance footage showing the raid.
Police say shortly before crowds of people rushed into 7-Eleven, a ‘street takeover’ was ‘initiated’ outside the store at the intersection of the street Figueroa and El Segundo Boulevard.
Cars “flooded” the street “to create a ‘pit’ in the middle of the intersection” where motorists “drove recklessly” around “doing doughnuts,” the police department said.
Moments later, “bystanders then formed a ‘flash mob’ of looters” and stormed into 7-Eleven, authorities said.
“It turns into a real kind of angry mob mentality,” the LAPD detective said. Ryan Moreno told reporters during a Thursday briefing.
Surveillance video of the chaotic incident shows dozens of people inside running down the aisles and stealing hordes of goods including snacks, drinks, cigarettes and lotto tickets.
“There was an employee working at the time, and they feared for their lives, and basically they did what they could and backed out of everybody,” Moreno told reporters.
At one point during the incident, there were more than 100 people inside the store, Moreno said.
Police said the looters fled the store and “quickly dispersed” before authorities arrived.
The LAPD released the surveillance footage in hopes the public can help identify those involved.
“They are going to be held accountable for this action,” Moreno said, adding that the suspects face charges of vandalism, looting and grand theft. “We really want to prevent this from becoming a new trend where they think they can show up and take over a street or a highway or any part of town where they’re going to be able to do this. that they want.”
“We’re here to say it’s not going to happen,” the detective said.
Moreno referred to other “street takeover” and so-called “flash mob” incidents that have occurred in the Los Angeles area recently.
The Los Angeles Times reported in November, organized groups descended on stores to steal expensive merchandise from several Los Angeles stores ahead of Thanksgiving. The Wall Street Journal reported in December that stores across the country, including Nordstrom, Best Buy and Louis Vuitton, had been hit by similar crimes.
“It’s a big deal,” Moreno said.
“The term ‘flash mob’ was first used to describe a large public gathering in which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse, usually organized by means of the internet or social media,” said said the LAPD when releasing details of Monday’s incident.
“In recent instances, however, ‘flash mobs’ have evolved from fun spontaneous events to opportunistic criminal events,” the department said.
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