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Smashing incident leads to arrests

YouTube has spawned a new generation (and new styles) of pranks. Many across Pennsylvania have seen stories about "flashrobs", a take on the term "flash mob" where a large group of people run into a store for a mass-shoplifting prank. The teens then post the act on YouTube for their friends to see.

Another prank called "gallon smashing" has also caught on. Essentially, pranksters will walk into a store, grab large containers and pretend to lose their balance and fall, only to smash the glass containers on the storeroom floor.

Police in southern New Jersey have arrested three teens who walked into a Walgreens and smashed liquid containers on the floor. They believe that they were responsible for another smashing incident in a CVS store. The pranks raised more confusion than concern with authorities, even though they worry that an unwitting customer will eventually slip and fall due to the pranks.

Moreover, the pranks amounted to a crime, which (according to authorities) caused more than $500 in damages.

The teens will likely be charged in juvenile court. There are a number of differences between juvenile court in adult criminal courts. One important aspect is that juvenile courts focus on rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. Also juvenile court records may be sealed after the offender reaches age 18. Indeed, jail time may be a part of a juvenile court sentence, but financial restitution is often an alternative option.

Nevertheless, an experienced attorney can be helpful in advising teens so of their legal rights and options should they be charged in a criminal matter.

Source: NBC Phildadelphia.com, 3 teens arrested in 'gallon smashing' incident, March 22, 2013

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Gregory R. Gifford
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