Last-minute Christmas shopping can be stressful, but still, hundreds of people make their way out to the shopping malls of America to grab a last minute item or two. This year, however, the malls on Christmas Eve looked more like the mall during Black Friday sales. Around the country, fists were flying.
In Newport, New Jersey, shoppers started throwing punches at each other. In Gurnee, Illinois, someone threw a chair while others started fighting. In Montgomery, Alabama, customers went as far as pulling each other’s hair during their brawls. Needless to say, mall security in all of these locations was needed on Christmas Eve.
What looks like a random selection of frustrated shoppers might have actually started out as a “flash mob,” meaning participants used social media to gather at the malls knowing that they would begin to fight. A police officer in Beachwood, Ohio that there was a brawl at one of the local malls on Monday that started in a similar way.
“[Police] believe [the fight] was caused by pockets of individuals that may have heard about it through others around the country,” a police department spokesperson said about the incident in Ohio. “Detectives are looking into some potential leads but investigations involving social media outlets are not easy.”
An incident at a Tennessee mall, which involved a shopper setting off fireworks inside a store causing chaos, is being investigated and it is possible that it was instigated via social media. In Aurora, Colorado, there were reports that people were posting about a potential fight would happen at the local mall.
If these “mall brawls” or “flash mob fights” are the latest issue to come out of holiday shopping, perhaps more and more people will take advantage of Cyber Monday or Shop Local Saturday just to avoid the large shopping centers.
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