LOS ANGELES – A 16-year-old has been arrested for allegedly using social media to organize a mob of teens to attack and rob pedestrians on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, police said Wednesday.
The teen is believed to have incited a chaotic crime spree, dubbed a "bash mob," at the busy Los Angeles intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, Officer Bruce Borihanh said. The teen's name was withheld because he is a juvenile.
Bash mobs are like a flash mob but instead of dancing in a choreographed number in public places, a bash mob converges to steal and vandalize. Police have been trying to stay one step ahead of such mobs, and have recently issued warnings ahead of possible bash mobs.
Police say the incident came in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, when resources were deployed to protests around the city. KABC-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1c3tfrD) reports some peaceful protesters were present at the Hollywood location.
Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese told reporters Wednesday that it was unacceptable for the criminal behavior to taint the purpose of those who were lawfully and peacefully protesting.
"In light of what the good people that were up there for lawful purpose intended to do, it really put a black eye on those days and we can't have that," Albanese said.
Nine other teens are facing robbery charges in the incident, and have all pleaded not guilty to taking cellphones, a wallet and a skateboard. In all, about $1,700 in stolen property and $300 in damages were reported.
Detectives are still looking for one individual in the incident, who was caught on surveillance cameras on Hollywood Boulevard.