Street takeover ‘flash mob’ ransacks L.A. 7-Eleven


LOS ANGELES (NewsNation) — The search for suspects in a wild and brazen “flash mob” attack at a Los Angeles 7-Eleven is one of many crimes that have Americans and American businesses on alert.

New video released by police on Thursday shows the chaos inside a Los Angeles 7-Eleven that was trashed by hundreds of people involved in a street takeover Monday.

The incident occurred around 12:40 a.m. when multiple people gathered in a street takeover at the intersection of Figueroa Street and El Segundo Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

“Motorists flooded the intersection and blocked traffic with their vehicles from all directions to create a ‘pit’ in the middle of the intersection,” authorities detailed in a news release.

Spectators eventually got out of their cars as motorists did donuts in the area.

The crowd then formed what police described as a “flash mob,” rushed a nearby 7-Eleven and started grabbing merchandise off the shelves, including drinks, snacks, cigarettes and lotto tickets, police said.

The looters also allegedly vandalized the store and threw items at employees.

“It turns into an angry, somewhat mob mentality,” LAPD Detective Ryan Moreno said during a news conference Thursday. “They come inside the store, they start ransacking the place, taking everything.”

Criminologist Alex del Carmen of Tarleton State University, said criminals in cities like Los Angeles feel emboldened by a “shortage of police officers across the nation” and an assumption store clerks will not attempt to stop them.

“They may have the presence of a clerk that’s been told give away thing inside the store but don’t fight the criminals, here’s the panic button,” del Carmen said. “But by the time they walk in and they do what they do and they walk out, no one’s going to chase them.”

Several people can be seen going over the counter and grabbing items there, the new video showed.

Cash registers were also destroyed but it’s unclear if any money was taken.

The store clerk was working alone that night and police said he feared for his life.

One man allegedly threw items at the clerk, creating a “violent encounter” between the two, Moreno said.

Another takeover occurred along the 110 Freeway that same night, the detective added.

“There were people on the freeway that were trying really to get to places they had to go, some had family emergencies and they’re just sitting there stuck, so these guys can do their thing,” Moreno said. “People are getting really tired of this.”

Del Carmen said incidents like this one are hard to prevent, but a tactic called “target hardening,” which involves using security guards or other methods of making place like 7/11 harder to rob, is a good method of prevention.

“The idea is you’re going to make it less attractive for someone to walk into that store, and less convenient for a customer to walk into that store, but safer for everyone else,” del Carmen said.

Detectives are asking for the public’s help to identify those involved in the incidents and encouraged anonymous tips.

Ryan said there is “zero tolerance” for anyone involved, participating or even watching a street takeover in the LAPD’s South Bureau area.

NewsNation affiliate KTLA contributed to this report.

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