Police Eye Social Media in Spate of Post-Christmas Mall Disturbances

Police are looking to social media after a series of post-Christmas distubances at malls across the United States that were allegedly “loosely organized” on those networks. Via ABC News

Police are eyeing social media in a series of disturbances that broke out at malls in several states the day after Christmas.

A mall outside Cleveland, Ohio was placed on lockdown after a large group of juveniles caused a disturbance at around 6:30 p.m. on Monday, police said.

The incident was “loosely organized on social media,” Beachwood, Ohio police said. One juvenile was arrested for disorderly conduct after officers dispersed the crowd and removed them from the Beachwood Place mall. No major injuries were reported.

Several fights broke out Monday night at the Fox Valley mall in Aurora, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, causing police to evacuate the premises. Mall goers captured the chaotic moments on their cell phones and posted photos and videos to social media as terrified shoppers went scrambling for the exits. The problems began around 7 p.m, according to officials.

The Aurora, Illinois police department said they were called in to assist with “an unruly crowd in the common area,” followed by a fight in the food court and “several other smaller altercations.”

A spokesperson for the Aurora police said the department “made the immediate decision to evacuate and close the mall for the safety of all,” and said that more than 1,000 patrons gathered in the common area watching the commotion. Seven juveniles were arrested after 75 officers from multiple local police agencies came in to assist.

The spokesperson said police are working to determine what caused the fights and told ABC News that they are looking into social media to see if the incident may have been planned or organized.