Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said Saturday’s apparent flash mob theft at a Germantown 7-Eleven supports the need for a youth curfew in Montgomery County.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, nearly 30 people simultaneously entered the 7-Eleven at 13001 Wisteria Drive and apparently stealing snacks and soda pop before leaving the store as a group, Patch reported Monday.
"The incident, that occurred at 1:47 a.m., serves to illustrate why my recently-proposed overnight curfew for juveniles under 18 years of age could enhance public safety throughout the County,” Leggett said Wednesday in an emailed statement. “But, criminal activity by flash mobs has occurred far beyond Montgomery County and has, in fact, become a national and international issue of concern.”
Leggett’s proposed curfew, Bill 25-11, would run from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and midnight to 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Exceptions include minors who are working or are accompanied by a parent.
The bill was spurred in large part by a sprawling gang fight in downtown Silver Spring over the July 4th weekend, during which a 17-year-old girl was stabbed. The teens involved in the fight told police they had come to Montgomery County because of curfews in surrounding jurisdictions, Patch reported in July.
Social media — in this case, Facebook — helped Montgomery County high school students mobilize thousands of supporters in opposition to the proposed curfew. The teens curfew opponents made their message clear during a public hearing in Rockville, where the proposal also drew pointed criticism from members of the County Council.
Slightly different are flash mobs, which are extemporaneous gatherings organized using social media tools and viral emails, often used for artistic expression or a light-hearted activity.
But some people have pushed the concept beyond its peaceful origins.
In Philadelphia, the recent swell in violent flash mobs has prompted Mayor Michael A. Nutter to step up enforcement of the city’s existing curfew, threatening to fine offenders and their parents if it's violated. Nutter also delivered a thoughtful, yet fiery address from the pulpit—a challenge to parents to "get it together."
Locally, Montgomery County Police said they have identified suspects connected to the Germantown incident and are working with the State’s Attorney’s Office to determine the appropriate charges.
Montgomery County 5th District Cmd. Luther Reynolds has described the incident as “despicable.”
“That kind of behavior won’t be tolerated,” Reynolds told Patch earlier this week.
—Kathleen Bryan contributed to this story.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett’s full statement:
“I want to make perfectly clear that the type of mob-based criminal activity, as represented by the recent flash mob incident at a 7-Eleven in Germantown, will not be tolerated in Montgomery County.
“Our Police Department is currently in the process of identifying participants captured by surveillance video and is working with the State’s Attorney’s Office to determine the appropriate charges for those offenders[.]
“The incident, that occurred at 1:47 a.m., serves to illustrate why my recently-proposed overnight curfew for juveniles under 18 years of age could enhance public safety throughout the County. But, criminal activity by flash mobs has occurred far beyond Montgomery County and has, in fact, become a national and international issue of concern.
“This incident is a wake-up call to law enforcement agencies, government leaders, and families. We must all work together to help prevent our young people from making wrong choices that can potentially endanger them, specifically and the welfare of our communities, in general.”