Flash Mob Mayhem: Violent Groups of Teens Leave NYC Businesses in Ruins

CBS New York, February 4, 2013

Violent, thieving mobs have been making headlines across the country for the past few years, and now they have hit New York City.

As Maurice Dubois reported in this CBS 2 investigation, the teen mobs have left neighborhoods worried as businesses take matters into their own hands.

Judson Bennett, 78, recently ran into a violent group of teens—often described with the once-benign term “flash mob”—as he made his daily trip to buy a newspaper at his favorite news team.


Bennett ended up with a broken arm.


In New York and across the country, the mobs of kids—20, 30, 40 or more—appear out of nowhere and suddenly charge a newsstand or convenience store.

They ransack, steal and wreak havoc with no consideration for customers, such as Bennett, who get in their way.


Raj Shmara owns a newsstand at Broadway at 55th Street. Shmara said his newsstand has been targeted seven different times by mobs of teens. During an attack just last week, the kids threw a bottle at an employee who had to be hospitalized.


The man who manages the newsstand where Bennett was injured said it has been attacked four times in just the past few weeks.

“It’s hard to earn a living, and then they come here and destroy everything, and then they leave,” he said. “It’s sad.”


Teens have destroyed the newsstand on 57th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues so many times that the manager has been forced to shut down completely in the afternoon so he doesn’t lose any more money.

“All our displays are broken,” he said.


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