Mayor Vincent C. Gray

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August 19, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Denounces Reported Flash Mob Shoplifting 

Mayor Says Such Thefts Will Not Be Tolerated in the District of Columbia

Media Contacts

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today denounced the August 18 group-shoplifting incident reported by a convenience store on Benning Road NE. Video of the incident shows a group of young women coming into the store at the same time, stuffing goods in bags, and rushing out without paying. Some media reports have called the incident a “flash-mob robbery” and likened it to a similar incident that took place at a convenience store in Montgomery County last week.

“We know there is video of a group of girls shoplifting from a store in Northeast in the early hours of Thursday morning,” Mayor Gray said. “The Metropolitan Police Department is currently investigating that incident. ‘Flash mob’ or not, we will pursue criminal charges against those involved. We will not tolerate such reprehensible behavior here.”

The Mayor continued: “Some news coverage of this incident has reported residents questioning whether the robbery could have been morally justified. Actually, both morality and the law are quite clear: It is wrong to steal from others. And if people do not obey the law, they will be apprehended, arrested and prosecuted. There is no excuse for this sort of incident.”

Mayor Gray concluded: “It is unfortunate that some of the youth involved probably are the victims of peer pressure. But they will be prosecuted along with the others. Our youth are expected to exercise good judgment. An incident like this certainly does not reflect good judgment.”