PORTLAND -- Police said a teen flash mob stole about $1,000 worth of Levi's jeans from the Macy's store at Lloyd Center Mall Thursday night.
Shortly after 7 p.m., five or six boys and girls grabbed the jeans and ran out of the mall through another store where they were picked up by a silver SUV with Texas plates, police said.
Police were checking surveillance video.
“We have seen it come and go in Portland. Over the summer, we saw several cases,” Sgt. Pete Simpson said. “With new technology, with social media and stuff, it creates new criminal opportunities.”
Several so-called "flash rob" cases were reported in 2012, including a robbery of a Troutdale Albertson's store in June 2012 that involved as many as 40 youths. That crime was caught on tape by store cameras.
Video: Albertson's Flash Rob
Lawmakers in Washington State are considering stiffening penalties for those involved in flash mobs to more easily make the crime prosecutable as a felony.
Although the crime looks like a theft conspiracy, most teens caught are only charged with shoplifting because of the work involved for law enforcement to document the conspiracy.
“We already have laws on the books that could be used to create a conspiracy crime to commit a felony,” said Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson. “The challenge for law enforcement is resources devoted to that.”