LAS VEGAS – Caught on camera, a mob of young people bombarded the City Stop convenience store on Sunset Road and Pecos Road and stole $600 in merchandise.
“It became a feeding frenzy,” said City Stop owner Jon Athey. “They were in the store for three minutes and 30 secondsâ€¦ It’s a pretty scary thing.”
Athey says the crowd darted in and snatched numerous items from the store. “Beer to jerky to candy bars to soda, whatever hit their fancyâ€¦ potato chips,” he said.
Athey says this tactic is known as a “swarm”. After 42 years in the convenience store business, Athey says this crime stands out.
“This is the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” he said.
If you walk into a convenience store, you expect every move to be recorded on camera. Surveillance cameras in every direction, however, didn’t stop this crew.
“Now, you’re seeing droves swarming in the front doors – right here – as fast as they can come in,” Athey said as he watched the surveillance video. “You can see them milling around by the beer doors. Now, you’re going to see them start selecting products they’re putting in their coat pockets.Â They’re putting it down their pants.”
The crowd started walking out without paying, only to return. “Here it is, two minutes into the deal. They’re all coming back for seconds,” Athey said.
Seconds later, they grabbed more beer and the clerk’s cell phone. They then rushed back out the door.
“We were blessed nobody was hurt,” Athey said. Athey says the clerk followed his training. He hopes this crowd doesn’t try to swarm another store.
“You can’t allow this to happen, because it’s going to break out into violence. Some cashier is going to decide that he’s got to defend the property, and he’ll get hurt,” he said.
Metro says this crime is being investigated as a burglary and grand larceny. Investigators are taking a close look at the surveillance video. Some customers may have also recorded the thieves’ license plate numbers.