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article image'Flash rob' takes place at Ottawa convenience store

By Lynn Curwin     Aug 6, 2011 in Crime
Ottawa - About 40 youth went into an Ottawa convenience store and grabbed items from shelves, taking about a minute to be gone with $800 worth of goods.
Thefts such as this one, which occurred at a Quickie shop, are called "flash robs" or "flash thefts", and are becoming increasingly common - especially in the US.
The Toronto Star stated that this was believed to be the first one in Canada.
“We’re worried a little bit about the phenomenon,” Const. Marc Soucy, a media relations officer with the Ottawa Police, told the paper. “It’s probably a youth thing. I don’t know why they’re doing it. It could be for a rush of adrenalin. Sometimes you get the mob mentality when you get a group of people.”
He said the crime was technically a flash theft, as robbery is theft with violence.
Social media and texting are used to gather people for these events and police are hoping that the internet will be able to help them catch those involved in the Ottawa incident, which was captured on CCTV. The footage has been posted on YouTube and received thousands of hits.
"If you look at the US events, these have resulted in people getting hurt, so I think we're lucky to have an event where no one was physically hurt, but I think it means we have to look at what we're doing and how to stop it," Irvin Waller, a criminologist at the University of Ottawa, told the CBC.
He said that you don't know when someone will be traumatized or physically hurt when events like this take place.
Several flash robs have taken place in the US including one at a Victoria's Secret in Washington, DC, and a convenience store in Las Vegas.
Police advise that shop employees should not try to resist during a flash rob, but call authorities after the group leaves.
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