Flash Mob Robbery in Montgomery County?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 16, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A possible flash mob robbery in Germantown, Maryland, took place over the weekend.

About 3 dozen youngsters, caught on videotape, entered a 7-Eleven convenience store early Saturday morning, reports NBC Washington.

The participants in the robbery were brazen. Despite the fact that surveillance tapes were rolling, many were smiling and laughing while grabbing store merchandise, according to NBC Washington.

The robbers took candy, sodas, ice cream, and various other items. Police are looking into whether social media had a role in the robbery, which looks suspiciously like a "flash mob."

Flash mobs started off rather innocently as a way for people to gather peacefully. Flash mobs originated from social media, with organizers tweeting or posting on Facebook a location or meeting place.

Interested participants would glean the meeting place through social media and then show up at the designated location. There, they would take part in things like protests or choreographed dance routines.

Now, the trend for flash mobs is veering from harmless public display to criminal activity, with participants sometimes taking part in crimes like robbery.

And, the problem is worldwide. In London, flash mobs are also partly to blame for some of the looting that has occurred in recent weeks.

Flash mobs themselves are not illegal. The right to have social media outlets is ingrained in the Constitution. All citizens have the right to free speech and the right to peaceful assembly.

But, when Americans turn to social media outlets in order to organize crime like the Germantown 7-Eleven robbery they are crossing a legal line. Will participants in flash mob robberies be guilty of conspiracy? And, what else can law enforcement do to combat the growing trend of flash mob violence?

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