(CTN News) – A flash mob-style raid in Philadelphia’s city center saw groups of masked and hooded teenagers breaking into and swarming shops, grabbing merchandise and fleeing on foot, authorities and witnesses have reported.
It has been reported that an Apple Store was hit about 8pm local time on Tuesday (00:01 GMT) and police chased fleeing teens who raided the store, recovering dropped iPhones and a “pile of iPads” at one spot, according to a police statement.
It was reported by NBC10 Philadelphia that more than 100 people, most of whom appeared to be teenagers, looted a Lululemon store, citing a police source.
On social media, video was posted showing mostly masked youths in hoodies running out of Lululemon, while police officers were seen grabbing several youths and tackling them to the sidewalk,
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
There were no immediate reports of injuries, but CBS Philadelphia reported that a security guard was assaulted at a Foot Locker store in Philadelphia.
During the theft and vandalism spree that took place on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported that more than twenty people were arrested, most of whom were young people.
The Inquirer reported that the city’s acting police commissioner John Stanford said the young people involved appeared to be using social media to coordinate the raids, and that “a caravan of cars” was moving around locations in the city and breaking into shops as well.
It was reported by the newspaper that the raids appeared to have been contained by police by midnight local time.
There was an earlier peaceful protest in the city on Tuesday over a judge’s decision to dismiss charges against a Philadelphia police officer for shooting and killing a motorist, Eddie Irizarry, through a car window on Tuesday. The ransacking followed an earlier peaceful protest.
CBS Philadelphia reported that several police commanders said the looting was not associated with earlier demonstrations that followed the judge’s decision.
“This had nothing to do with the protests,” acting police chief Stanford was quoted as saying in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
As he said, “What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists taking advantage of a situation and trying to destroy our city as best they could,”
As a result of the shop raids, US budget retailer Target announced the closing of nine stores in four states, including one store in New York’s East Harlem neighborhood, as well as three in the San Francisco Bay Area, saying that theft as well as organized retail crime have threatened the safety of its employees and customers in the past few years.