ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — Mob robberies. It’s a crime craze sweeping the nation. Now one Maryland lawmaker is fighting back against the dangerous trend.
Meghan McCorkell has more on a proposed crackdown.
At least two mob robberies have happened this year in Maryland. Now lawmakers are cracking down on the dangerous trend.
A Silver Spring 7-Eleven was overrun by teens. They grabbed what they could, then walked out the door, stealing hundreds in goods. In Germantown, more than two dozen teens took over a store. They trashed the aisles and stole $450 in merchandise. In D.C., a group of girls emptied shelves right into their shopping bags, then ran out of the store.
“This is a growing phenomenon and each flash mob robbery seems to get bigger,” said Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher.
Now Waldstreicher wants to stop the crime craze. He’s proposing a state law that would make anyone caught in a mob robbery responsible for the total amount stolen from the store. Under the new bill, instead of being charged for stealing a soda or some candy, each person involved could be charged with stealing hundreds in merchandise. The proposed penalties could mean larger fines or more jail time.
“We just want it to be another tool in the toolbox of law enforcement. Primarily, we’re putting it in as a deterrent,” Waldstreicher said.
Video is a tool law enforcement used to nab suspects in the Silver Spring robbery.
“We identified 18 of the kids almost immediately,” said Montgomery County police officer Luther Reynolds.
Now police hope this new bill will stop this dangerous trend before it escalates.
The mob robbery bill will be introduced during the next legislative session, which begins next month.
Theft valued at less than $1,000 is considered a misdemeanor in Maryland.