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Maryland lawmakers target new kind of theft: mob theft

In a prior post, we discussed a somewhat unique Maryland theft case that made the headlines throughout the U.S. Many of us have heard of flash mobs. It's when a group of people all plan to be at one place at one time and then begin a synchronized dance in a public place. A traditional flash mob, therefore, is pretty harmless.

But a new kind of flash mob has hit two Maryland convenience stores in the past year. Flash mob thefts have meant significant financial loss for the two stores that were hit. And at least a couple of Maryland lawmakers want to prevent such thefts from threatening local businesses again.

The first flash mob theft that occurred earlier this year didn't involve violence, and the more recent incident didn't either. But lawmakers worry that these types of theft incidents will turn to violent crimes in the future.

To prevent more flash mob thefts from taking place in Maryland, a piece of proposed legislation will be introduced in the next session of the Maryland General Assembly next month. The legislation seeks to make an individual's charge in relation to a flash mob theft more severe.

Instead of an individual defendant being held accountable for the amount in goods he stole alone, the amount in goods stolen by the entire flash mob group would be assigned to each individual. The severity of a theft charge depends on how much a suspect allegedly took from a store. Combining all of the goods stolen by several people for one person's charge would mean a significant difference in sentencing.

We will follow this matter and post an update should the legislation move forward or get rejected.

Source

Wtop.com: "Md. officials draft law to curb flash mob thefts," Kate Ryan, Dec. 12, 2011

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