PUTNAM, Conn. – Two armed thugs tried to rob a line of people waiting for the new Playstation 3 game system to go on sale in Putnam early Friday and shot one man who refused to give up his money, authorities said.
About 30 miles away, another shopper was beaten and robbed of his new Playstation 3 just minutes after he bought it at a store in Manchester, police said.
Nationwide, short supplies of the PS3 and strong demand led to long lines of buyers, some waiting for days outside stores. Once the doors opened Friday, customers pushed and shoved their way to the shelves in several cities to get at the limited supply.
The attacks and robberies in Connecticut appeared to be the most violent.
It was about 3 a.m. when the two gunmen in Putnam, a town of about 9,000 residents in northeast Connecticut, confronted 15 to 20 people standing outside a Wal-Mart store and demanded money, said State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance.
"One of the patrons resisted. That patron was shot," Vance said.
Vance said the two gunmen fled after shooting Michael Penkala, 21, of Webster, Mass., in the chest and shoulder. Penkala was in stable condition at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., with injuries not believed to be life threatening, Vance said.
Police were searching for the suspects, both believed to be in their teens, Vance said. He said one was wearing a ski mask and brandishing a handgun, and the other had what appeared to be a shotgun.
In the Manchester attack, the shopper told police five men surrounded and beat him as he left the Shoppes at Buckland Hills with the new Playstation.
Police Sgt. Chris Davis said the alleged attackers pushed one of colleagues out of the car as they drove away. That man, a 17-year-old from Windsor, was charged with robbery, larceny, assault and breach of peace. His name was not released.
In Palmdale, Calif., authorities shut down a Super Wal-Mart after some shoppers got rowdy late Wednesday. In West Bend, Wis., a 19-year-old man was injured when he ran into a pole racing with 50 others for one of 10 spots outside a Wal-Mart.
In Lexington, Ky., someone fired BB pellets from a passing vehicle at people waiting outside a Best Buy store, according to WKYT, whose own reporter said she was among four people grazed while she interviewed buyers in line.
A Best Buy in Boston, aware it had only 140 of the consoles, got smart about the big sale — its employees gave out tickets to the first 140 people in line so everyone could go home until the store opened.