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Mob of teens overruns mall in Brooklyn

By Haimy Assefa, CNN
updated 7:45 AM EST, Sun December 29, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Over 300 teens stormed a Brooklyn mall causing chaos
  • Mall employees were terrified as teens banged on store doors
  • The disturbance drove down post-Christmas sales

(CNN) -- Imagine the chaos of Black Friday -- but worse.

Every shopper's nightmare was lived out on Thursday when a horde of rowdy teens stampeded through a New York mall -- screaming, wreaking havoc and banging on shop doors.

"Things are back to normal with more police around," Joli Chen, a worker at a beauty supply store, said Saturday. "But the other day was crazy. Black Friday was normal compared to that. They were making trouble."

Flash mobs have been known to descend on malls across the country, singing, dancing and even accompanying couples getting engaged. But the Brooklyn flash mob isn't the first to turn ugly.

In the summer of 2012, a Walmart in Jacksonville, Florida, was mobbed by 300 people who entered the store and destroyed the security system, according to CNN affiliate WJXT.

Police said the group destroyed an electronic anti-shoplifting security scanner that cost about $1,500, WJXT reported. The massive crowd descended on the store after a party that was broken up nearby. No arrests were made.

In New York, Chen and others described a flash mob of more than 300 teens who, at first, started gathering at Brooklyn's Kings Plaza Shopping Center before erupting in a frenzy of yelling, running, shoving and pounding on doors. Many stores were forced to shut down on the busy shopping day after Christmas.

"They tried to scare us," Chen said. "They were cursing at us. The police tried to keep them moving but there were so many. And there are so many entrances, they kept coming back in."

On Friday, the mall turned away unaccompanied minors. On Saturday, Chen said, teens were allowed to shop again.

A New York police spokesman confirmed that more than 300 rowdy teens overran the Kings Plaza mall the day after Christmas.

At about 6 p.m., groups roamed the mall banging on glass storefronts while cursing and screaming at people, mall employee Rickie Liu told CNN.

Reports of damage were unclear, but some teens picked up a glass container filled with candy and shattered it on the floor, the owner of a candy kiosk told CNN affiliate WCBS.

The rambunctious crowd turned what is usually a quiet mall into a terrifying place, said mall employee Charmaine Chen.

Many stores were forced to shutter their gates on a busy day. Liu said she received a call from mall security advising store employees to lock store doors for their own safety.

Shop owner Kenny Pak received a call from security telling him there were teens fighting and causing a commotion.

Police arrived after mall security called for backup at around 9 p.m., said a New York police spokesman. Officers eventually escorted nearly the disorderly teens out of the mall.

The coordinated chaos lasted about two hours, according to Liu, and ruined expected good sales.

Her shop didn't even reach $100 in business by 6 p.m., Liu said.

Police said there were no arrests made or complaints filed with the authorities about damage or assaults.

Police were reviewing mall security video as part of their investigation.

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