Teens steal $3,000 in designer clothes during Chicago flash-rob (VIDEO)
Nearly two dozen teenagers stormed into the Mildblend Supply Co. clothing shop in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois on Saturday, and within minutes made it back out through the doors with an estimated $3,000 in high quality denim jeans.
The new type of shopping spree, the so-called “flash rob,” combines orchestrated larceny with the increasingly easy ability to arrange for throngs of participants to quickly come together and carry out a task in the same place and time. Flash mobs — legal versions of the gatherings that are often planned to pursue a goal with either entertainment or advocacy in mind — has been a growing phenomenon for years in both the United States and abroad. In recent times, though, the spontaneous meet-ups have become increasingly criminalized, with the fun and games approach taking a backseat to a whole new kind of motivation: goods, money and mischief.
Mildblend Supply Co. manager Luke Cho tells CBS that the events that unfolded in his story on Saturday resembled “some kind of procession.” Reviewing the surveillance footage, he says, “You see a group, a group of teenagers, walking in — or marching in — one-by-one.”
As their numbers increased in just a matter of seconds, Cho says, “I quickly realized something bad was about to happen.” He managed to lock the doors to keep others from entering, but around 20 teenagers managed to flea with a good chunk of the store’s inventory of “Nudie Jeans” denim.
“They knew what they wanted and went straight for it,” Cho tells NBC.
“We were extremely vulnerable and caught completely off guard,” the manager adds to the Chicago Sun-Times. “There wasn’t a whole lot we could do other than lock the door and hope the police showed up right away.”
“They basically pushed us aside,” Cho continues. “We were standing by the door. My staff got cuts and bruises and banged around until [the thieves] unlocked the door and got out. … So, it wasn’t a complete success from their perspective, but not a complete fail. But if everyone walked out with more stuff, it would have been devastating for us.”
"Their sole purpose was to hang on to something and walk out the door, so there was not a whole lot I can do,” he adds to local ABC News 7.
Only two weeks earlier, a similar incident occurred at a Walmart store in Jacksonville, Florida after police were dispatched to break up a party populated by teenagers at a nearby home. The youths managed to flee the gathering before the cops came, however, and relocated their shindig to a local Walmart. Surveillance footage inside the store showed that as many as 300 teenagers tore through the aisles of the retail giant and ransacked the store, but in that instance the management reported that loss of product was minimal.