Over 100 masked and hooded individuals, many of them teens, broke into and swarmed several retail stores in Philadelphia’s city center Tuesday as police worked to make arrests, reports say.
The looters were seen grabbing merchandise, stuffing them into plastic bags and fleeing the scene, according to NBC10 Philadelphia. Philadelphia police quickly responded to reports of looting from popular stores such as Apple, Lululemon and Footlocker.
Looks like things are getting crazy in Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/M8Ro5nM4H1
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) September 27, 2023
Authorities were able to chase down the fleeing teenagers when they raided the Apple Store at around 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. They recovered iPhones and iPads from the teens.
The looting was unrelated to the peaceful protest held following the dismissal of charges against an officer involved in the shooting of Eddie Irizarry, Acting Police Commissioner John Stanford told NBC10.
Still, Stanford said the looters might have used the protest as an opportunity to ransack the stores. “This had nothing to do with the protests,” he told the outlet. “What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists. … These were not protesters, these were criminals.” (RELATED: One Stabbed After Hundreds Of Youths Descend On Blue City Mall For Hours-Long Brawl)
Stay out of center city: Kids looted Apple Store , Lululemon and Chestnut street I hear footlocker has been broken into. this is 17th and Walnut pic.twitter.com/RjcGxu6lES
— PhillyChitChat (@HughE_Dillon) September 27, 2023
Stanford also said the group had possibly coordinated their actions through social media platforms, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Police had made at least 20 arrests by Tuesday night, according to NBC10. An investigation is ongoing.