Police: Mall Attacks May Have Been Coordinated Online

The sudden outbreak of melees at suburban shopping malls on Monday, appears to be a coordinated effort. There were more than a dozen incidents on Monday in multiple states involving teenage mobs harassing and picking fights with mall shoppers, leading to several arrests. Now the police have revealed that social media may have played a role in the seemingly unrelated attacks.

Video as people scramble from Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Illinois. (AP)

More from USA Today:

In Aurora, Colo., police said a posting on social media announcing a fight at the Town Center of Aurora drew an unruly crowd that grew to about 500 people. Five suspects, all juveniles, were arrested in that fight, which brought 50 officers to the scene and led to the mall being shut down.

Manchester, Conn., police said several fights broke out around the same time at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills Mall in that city on Monday evening. Capt. Christopher Davis said police there believe it is “highly probable” that social media postings played a part in organizing the disturbances that ended with the arrests of seven people — including five teenagers — who were involved in the melees.

Meanwhile, in Beachwood, Ohio, police said about 500 young people who took part in a large-scale disturbance at the mall on Monday had been “loosely organized on social media.”
Police in the Cleveland suburb evacuated the mall after teens had been running through the shopping center amid incorrect reports that shots had been fired. The mall’s operators eventually reopened it to shoppers after the situation was calmed. One juvenile who struck a police officer was charged with disorderly conduct.

Other major mall disturbances — including some that led to shopping centers being evacuated — occurred in Tempe, Ariz.; Aurora, Ill.; Louisville; Fayetteville, N.C.; East Garden City, N.Y.; Memphis; Fort Worth and elsewhere.

This is a weird phenomenon. Let’s hope it’s not a new trend amongst Millennials, Flash Mobs that sing and dance are one thing, this is the Upside Down version apparently.

Idol hands do the devil’s work, or so the saying goes; that shiftless kids will find trouble isn’t new. However the creation of the Youtube Star does introduce a new situational problem to the equation. We’ve got kids desperate for attention, with the capability of getting it, just by broadcasting it live or uploading it to YouTube. The ability for attention starved kids to gain notoriety through a video might encourage some to seek out the adoration of fans for negative attention, as we saw with Adam Saleh. Famous and infamous might be too subtle of a distinction for this generation.