Flash mobs have been increasing in popularity over the past several years. Not all groups are bad and some can be formed for benevolent purposes. Groups of friends can plan coordinated dances. Activists can raise awareness of certain causes, while those not participating can watch and learn from them on the internet or the nighttime news.
However, a darker trend is emerging as some groups have gotten together for the sole purpose of breaking the law. Violent mobs have popped up all around the U.S.. Philadelphia has seen the worst outbreak of violent flash mobs, but more are beginning to appear in Maryland as well.
Germantown Flash Mob Robbery
ABC reported that a group of roughly 25 young adults entered a convenience store in Germantown, Maryland simultaneously on August 13th, 2011. They stole several items and left in under a minute. The store clerk realized he could do nothing except press the panic alarm and alert the police of the sudden mass robbery.
The Washington Examiner notes the teens probably planned the event at the Montgomery County Fair before boarding a bus to raid the store.
Montgomery County police have already charged 17 people (14 as juveniles) in the theft and are trying to ascertain the identity of the remaining conspirators. The charges range from theft, conspiracy to commit theft and disorderly conduct.
Occasionally the state will try to charge a minor, depending on his age, as an adult. If the state is successful, then the minor may receive the harsher sentences that go along with the crime, as well as having a criminal conviction on his record. (Juvenile findings of guilt do not generally go on a person's record). It is possible some of the youngsters who were present played no role in the planning or execution of the theft. For these reasons, it is important for any child to have a qualified criminal defense attorney advocating on his behalf.
Anyone needing criminal defense representation should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss his rights and options moving forward. This is especially true if a minor is charged as an adult. Convincing the court to try the child as a juvenile can be a crucial act the result of which could affect the child for the rest of his life.