Flash mobs organized via Facebook can be fun, but they can also run afoul of the law, as one apparently did in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., Monday afternoon.
The Daily Mail reported that a Victoria’s Secret store within The Shops at Georgetown Park was victimized by a group of men and women who organized the crime by using Facebook and Twitter.
According to the Mail, two men and two women entered the store with two baby strollers at approximately 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and the robbers used a small child to distract the staff, while others grabbed merchandise and fled. The newspaper added that similar incidents have occurred at other stores in the popular shopping area.
Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant John Hedgecock told Fox News, as reported by the Mail:
They come in and they do it so fast — within a matter of seconds. What happened in this store probably lasted around 20 seconds. They go in, they distract the employees, and they grab the merchandise. They are in and out.
We have some information that they may be using some of the social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to schedule an event, if you will.
And Alex Brown, who works at Riccardi, a store in the same mall, told the Mail:
The people who do it don’t care and sometimes pose. They will stand there and look at the camera in a funny way.
We can’t help feeling amazed at the brazenness of these robbers; organizing a crime via social media is only a few steps shy of directly asking law enforcement to come arrest you. But we have observed a growing number of criminals posting about their illicit activities on Facebook, seemingly ignorant of how much police use the site.
Readers, have you witnessed any Facebook users openly discussing illegal activities — and have you ever reported it?
Jackie Cohen added commentary to this post.