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Rogue Teens Force Lakewood Center Mall to Close

Scene at the mall Saturday. Courtesy CBS.

A large group of teenagers forced the Lakewood Center Mall to close early on Saturday after causing some sort of “disturbance,” according to authorities. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies were sent to the mall after learned that a large group consisting of hundreds of juveniles was causing a disturbance somewhere at the mall a little before 7 p.m., though the gathering began at around 2 p.m. with teens coming and going throughout the day.

While they did not provide any information on the exact circumstances surrounding the disturbance, the mall was forced to close two hours earlier than normal. They shut down at 7 p.m. instead of their usually scheduled 9 p.m. 

Deputies say that a fight may have occurred at one point, but it was quickly broken up by units at the mall.

The city of Lakewood wrote in a statement, “Malls across Southern California have been the subject of youth mobs in recent months, and unfortunately, Lakewood Center was the latest focus, with over 200 youth, most of them middle-school age, descending on the property Saturday with the purpose of creating havoc, shoplifting, and filming it for social media popularity. Many of the youth took public transportation or rode bikes to the mall. 

“Fortunately, the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station received advance notice of the youths’ plans and prepared with a very large contingent of Sheriff’s personnel from the Lakewood Station and several neighboring stations. Lakewood’s Sky Knight helicopter also provided a useful “eye in the sky” to provide intelligence and direct Sheriff’s personnel. 

Deputy Sheriffs, with help from mall security and city public safety staff, prepared a plan in advance and dispersed the crowd. Several juveniles were detained.

There was no property damage, no thefts, and no injuries to mall patrons or staff.

Out of an abundance of caution, the mall closed early for the evening.”

“This is very disappointing and disturbing behavior that we are seeing from some youth in our society right now,” said Lakewood City Manager Thaddeus McCormack. “But Lakewood won’t tolerate it, and with the help of our longtime partners in the Sheriff’s Department, we will bring every resource to bear to deter these incidents, and stop them as quickly as possible if they do occur.

“I want to extend our city’s deep appreciation to the personnel of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, mall security and our city public safety staff, for teaming up yesterday to safeguard Lakewood Center and eliminate the problem as quickly and safely as possible,” said McCormack.

“That teamwork,” said McCormack, “makes Lakewood Center consistently one of the safest malls in our area, despite the challenges that shopping centers everywhere face. And the daily teamwork between the Sheriff’s Department and our city makes Lakewood one of the safest communities in our region.”