Flash Mob Shoplifts at Silver Spring 7-Eleven

50 shoplifters hit 7-Eleven at once

At least 70 people simultaneously shoplifted from a Silver Spring, Md., 7-Eleven Saturday night.

Officers arriving at the store in the 12200 block of Tech Road after 11:20 p.m. saw several people gathered in surrounding parking lots and on side streets, police said. They began to disperse when police arrived.

The shoplifters -- described as teens and young adults -- took items including snacks and drinks, police said.

"It really is this mob mentality where you get a group of kids that go in to the 7-Eleven, and a group will say, 'Let's steal stuff,' and a lot of kids I think get caught up in that," Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said.

Police stopped a group of six people ages 16-18 near Tech Road and Broadbirch Drive. Each had items from the 7-Eleven but no receipts, police said.

Detectives are investigating whether the shoplifters had attended a birthday party in the area, police said.

Not everyone in the flash mob stole, police said. Some paid and some just watched, News4's Darcy Spencer reported.

Police have identified about 20 teenagers, and some parents have contacted police saying their child was there but didn't participate. Only those that stole will be charged with theft, Manger said.

In August, a flash mob of dozens of young people entered a 7-Eleven in Germantown and took items without paying, police said.

Flash mob crime in the county has prompted lawmakers to consider teen loitering legislation and a teen curfew.

"We want to make sure folks understand right away, our kids understand, that this is a serious crime," Montgomery County Councilman Craig Rice said. "This is stealing, and it won't be tolerated."

Anyone with information about the case should call Montgomery County police at 301-565-5835.

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