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Police and witnesses say groups of teenagers swarmed into stores in Philadelphia’s Central City on Tuesday night, stuffing plastic bags with merchandise and fleeing, although police made several arrests
PHILADELPHIA -- Groups of teenagers swarmed into stores in Philadelphia's Central City on Tuesday, stuffing plastic bags with merchandise and fleeing, although police made several arrests, authorities and witnesses said.
An Apple Store was hit at around 8 p.m. and police chased fleeing teenagers, recovering dropped iPhones and a “pile of iPads” at one spot, a police statement said.
More than 100 people who appeared to be teenagers looted a Lululemon store, NBC10 Philadelphia reported, citing a police officer.
Video posted on social media showed masked people in hoodies running out of Lululemon and police officers grabbing several and tackling them to the sidewalk, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
No injuries were immediately reported but CBS Philadelphia said a security guard was assaulted at the Foot Locker.
The flash mob-style ransacking followed an earlier peaceful protest over a judge's Tuesday decision to dismiss murder and other charges against a Philadelphia police officer who shot and killed a driver, Eddie Irizarry, through a rolled-up window.
However, several police commanders said that the store ransacking wasn't connected to earlier demonstrations, CBS Philadelphia reported.
The thefts also occurred on the same day that Target announced it will close nine stores in four states, including one in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood, and three in the San Francisco Bay Area, saying that theft and organized retail crime have threatened the safety of its workers and customers.