Some so-called "flash mobs" dance
. The other kind descend on street-side vendors to wreak havoc.
New York City's newsstand proprietors are complaining of assemblies of 20, 30, and 40 or more teens suddenly storming their shops and taking off with merchandise, while leaving destruction and rattled nerves in their wake, reports
CBS. It's a problem that's surfaced in the last few years in other major cities as well, including Chicago and Philadelphia, the report notes.
"They assemble, they do whatever it is that they're going to do, and then they disassemble in a matter of minutes," explained a professor of criminal justice to reporters. "By the time somebody recognizes what is happening or is injured, if the police are able to respond, it's slow."
The police response has been so ineffective, complains one merchant, that he's been forced to close in the afternoons for fear of being ransacked.
"All our displays are broken," said the owner of the Manhattan-based business.
But while the NYPD has been a disappointment on the flash mob front of late, shop owners say that in past years plainclothes officers have successfully helped to curb the flash mob phenomenon.
"It's against the law," said one Brooklyn resident. "They should address the problem [like] they address every other issue."