TROUTDALE, Ore. – A group of around 30-40 teenagers stormed into an Albertsons grocery store in Troutdale on Saturday night, stealing merchandise and trashing the store, according to police.
Officers in the Portland suburb said the kids, who were between 13 and 16 years old, had been drinking at a party that was broken up by police before the robbery.
They said the kids then walked en masse to the nearby store and “flash robbed” the place. The term “flash rob” is a play off a “flash mob.”
"They tried to overwhelm the employees so they went in as a group and started destroying banners, tearing up boxes and stuff," Sgt. Steve Bevens with Troutdale Police said.
He said they also stole food and shoved items into their jackets.
Surveillance video also shows two boys get behind a counter and try to steal a cash register. Kids are also seen throwing produce and riding a motorized scooter.
"All of a sudden a mob of kids come walking out and some of them are running," said one witness who called 9-1-1 but did not want his name published. "I heard Albertsons employees yelling at them."
He said he heard the suspects bragging about how much they stole.
"What shocked me the most was the girls had the most stuff," he said. "It wasn't just the boys."
Only one police officer was able to respond to the call because other officers were busy elsewhere. He found the group of kids at a nearby bus stop and called for backup.
Bevens said some of the kids tried to intimidate the officer, but the officer randomly pulled two of the teens aside and arrested them for a curfew violation.
So far police have not arrested anyone for the actual theft, although Bevens said investigators are watching surveillance video from the store and trying to get the names of the kids.
"We're going to work with the district attorney, juvenile system and charge them with everything we can," Bevens said.