Flash-Mob Legislation: Maryland Delegate Jeffrey Waldstreicher Considers Tougher Group Penalties
In Maryland, those charged in a "flash mob" robbery may not be only held responsible for the items they stole individually. If the "flash mob" steals more than $1,000, each person involved would be responsible for the full amount taken by the group. According to The Washington Times, Del. Jeffrey Waldstreicher (D) is considering legislation that would strengthen flash-mob penalties:
In Maryland, theft of less than $100 is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum 90 days in jail, while theft of $100 to $1,000 is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum 18 months in prison and $1,000 fine.
Theft of more than $1,000 is a felony punishable by a maximum 15 years in prison and $25,000 fine.
The Montgomery County Democrat tells the Times he wants to give prosecutors "enough tools to deal with the growing phenomenon."
In August, a flash-mob robbery at a Germantown 7-Eleven made international headlines when surveillance video showed a large group of nearly 30 young people pour into the convenience store and make off with candy, snacks, drinks and other items without paying.
As The Washington Post reported last month, the Germantown incident wasn't exactly the product of texting and social media:
That’s been the case in some flash mobs: Young people used the technology to assemble. In the 7-Eleven job, the youths rode a bus from the county fair to the Germantown area and started talking to one another. Someone came up with the idea to hit the 7-Eleven.
Still, officials have been trying to figure out ways to curb the practice of crimes committed by groups of youths.
Leggett’s proposed curfew, Bill 25-11, would run from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and midnight to 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Exceptions include minors who are working or are accompanied by a parent.Although Leggett's plan has drawn criticism, he has indicated it would have enough support to pass the county council. But a vote isn't expected until at least November.
The bill was spurred in large part by a sprawling gang fight in downtown Silver Spring over the July 4th weekend, during which a 17-year-old girl was stabbed. The teens involved in the fight told police they had come to Montgomery County because of curfews in surrounding jurisdictions, Patch reported in July.
WATCH: A Flash-Mob Robbery in Germantown
WATCH: Del. Jeffrey Waldstreicher Discusses Flash-Mob Robberies