Police in Oregon and Florida are investigating weekend incidents that involved hundreds of teenagers invading stores, frightening shoppers and causing hundreds of dollars in damage.
Police in Jacksonville, Fla. are investigating a night of violence that included a rampage by more than 300 teenagers in a Walmart store. A portion of the mayhem was captured on video and posted to YouTube. The video shows young people pouring into the store, yelling, screaming and throwing merchandise. A security scanner worth $1,500 was destroyed.
According to a 17-page incident report, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Dept. confirmed that gunshots were fired in the parking lot of the store – but said no one was injured.
A Walmart spokesperson told Fox News Radio the attack lasted less than five minutes.
“The actions of these teenagers were deplorable and put at risk the safety of innocent bystanders,” spokesperson Dianna Gee told Fox News Radio. “We’re committed to assisting law enforcement in any way we can to help identify the people responsible for the commotion, including the acts of vandalism and theft that occurred at our store.”
Gee credited the response of Walmart workers who immediately called for help. No customers or employees were injured in the melee.
“Our associates did exactly what they are trained to do -, they notified authorities who are better equipped and trained to respond and handle situations such as this,” she said.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Shannon Hartley said the teenagers apparently converged on the store from a nearby party where at least one person was shot. After police broke up the party, hundreds of teenagers scattered. Some are believed to have been responsible for the Walmart mayhem.
So far, no one has been arrested.
“It’s obviously disappointing to see activity like that with any group of people,” Hartley told Fox News Radio. “I would certainly hope that young people would have more respect for the property around them and the property of others.”
Hartley said he hopes “it’s an experience they will grow and learn from and hopefully not repeat.”
Local residents are outraged over the violence.
“Walmart should close this store in response to this,” one person wrote on YouTube. “Let their parents look for bargains elsewhere.”
“This is atrocious,” said another person. “I hope someone can be held accountable for this.”
Message boards on Jacksonville media outlets were filled with comments from people furious that the teenagers were allowed to roam the streets.
“These barbaric thugs are out of control,” said a reader on News4Jax.com. “I find it very sad. What can be done about it?”
A group of 40 teenagers in Troutdale, Oregon “flash-robbed” an Albertsons store. KGW reported that employees were left shaken by the attack and at least one woman was in tears after she was “terrorized” by the robbers.
“Basically, it looks like they went in, just to cause chaos, which they accomplished,” Sgt. Steve Bevens told the television station.
One witness said the suspects, who were not captured, were “bragging and laughing about how much stuff they stole and what they did in the store.”
KGW reported that the attack was the latest of several “flash rob-style” incidents. If they are captured, the suspects could face a number of charges – including rioting.