November 26th, 2010
07:21 PM ET

Thefts, stampedes make Black Friday blue for some

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/11/26/fl.black.friday.shoppers.robbed.wpbf"%5D

Call it a case of consumerism bringing out the worst in people.

Three women in West Palm Beach, Florida, say $1,000 worth of Best Buy merchandise was stolen from their car Friday morning within minutes of being purchased, according to CNN affiliate WPBF.

The women were the first people at Best Buy after camping out since Wednesday night.

After they made their purchases, they put them in the car and went to JC Penney. A few minutes later, they returned, and the goods were gone.

"I mean, we've been camping since Wednesday," a tearful Shereece Francis told WPBF. "Just cruel, just wicked."

The women weren't the only ones to experience Black Friday car troubles.

At least 10 shoppers in St. Louis, Missouri, left Best Buy to find that their cars had been towed, CNN affiliate KSDK reports.

The customers had parked in a lot adjacent to Best Buy belonging to a T-Mobile store. They told KSDK there were no signs saying parking was for T-Mobile customers only, just a small, upside down sign from "Bulldog Towing" warning about abandoned or illegally parked cars.

Now, those customers are out $335.

"We're going to have to return our gifts that we bought on Black Friday just to get the car from tow," said Lavorn Ford, who had purchased a Playstation 3 for his son. "It's frustrating because you get up early in the morning to get your kids stuff for Christmas and then this stuff happens. "

A T-Mobile store manager said the store needed the parking lot when it opened at 7 a.m.

"Our lot was full by 4 and then again by 6, so we would have opened up our business and not had any spots," store manager Brian Fisher said.

It seems that some people will go to extreme lengths in the name of their children. A Wisconsin woman who cut in front of a long line of Black Friday shoppers was arrested, police say, after she allegedly threatened to shoot those she moved ahead of.

"I just wanted to get my daughter the toy that she wanted for Christmas, which probably won't be there when I go today," Lanessa L. Lattimore, 21, told CNN.

Lattimore attempted to cut in front of a line of "several hundred shoppers" at a Toys R Us store in Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday, according to a police report. Lattimore admitted there had been a confrontation in the line but disputed the details.

"Everybody was cutting in line. But there was one girl who was threatening me, so I told her that I'd shoot her," Lattimore told CNN. "I'm not a violent person, but police charged me with disorderly conduct."

Several eager shoppers were trampled Friday morning as they surged through Target store doors in North Buffalo, New York.

CNN affiliate WIVB had a camera inside the Target and captured the drama. People at the front of the line were pushed to the floor when doors opened. The commotion and screams drew additional store staff to sort the crowd out. 

"It went from controlled to a mob in less than five minutes," shopper Rich Mathewson told WIVB. "And then it just got nasty."

Several people had cut into the line, angering the crowd, Mathewson said.

Unruly Wal-Mart shoppers in Sacramento, California, prompted an evacuation of the store, affiliate KTXL reported.

Just after the store opened its doors at 5 a.m., customers became pushy and unruly.

Sacramento Sheriff's officers were called in to help clear the store and everyone was ordered to leave their carts in the store and exit. Once everyone outside calmed down, shoppers were allowed back in to finish their shopping, according to KTXL.

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Filed under: Crime • Holidays
soundoff (1,197 Responses)
  1. Mike R

    If you can't afford the cost of getting your car towed then you shouldn't have parked in a lot that was not for the store you were going to. I don't feel sad for a single one of these people. My car was broken into tuesday and they got nothing because I'm smart and don't leave anything to steal. Now you think you're going to walk out of an electronics store load up your car, lock it and expect everything to still be there when you go do some more shopping? Right! Someone will always most likely be casing the place looking for saps like this. As for those who were trampled, well it happens every year yet people still go out and put up with this nonsense just to save a few bucks.

    November 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kat ATL

    These are the examples people in our society are setting for generations to come? Disgusting. It won't be long now til this damned world comes to a close. Then, I hope it was all worth it. I hope that you are proud of how you behaved on this green & blue sphere. Jesus, please help us.

    November 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • auguron

      Faking indignance does nothing to improve your image. Your kind are responsible for this as well, more than you are willing to admit. Jesus, help us indeed...

      November 28, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Anabelle

    All of those people deserve a big fat lump of coal in their stocking this year. Greediness gets you nowheres. If they were smart, they'd have done their shopping online where the same deals were being offered. @ The women who waited since Wednesday: Really? Wow. Some people are just so desperate. All of those people need to get a life. If you can't behave like an adult, you shouldn't even be allowed out with other adults to shop for something as stupid as a toy.

    November 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DYBO

    I'm a mean one Mr. Grinch-
    Gifts in the car for the pinch-
    Never shop black Friday-
    Thanks for making it my day-
    I'm a mean one Mr. Grinch

    November 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    How is this news?

    November 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    People at their best, that's for sure. I try and avoid the human cattle stampede as much as possible. GET A CLUE! The merchandise that's on sale is NOT in the store except for maybe 4 of them. Camping out doesn't change that. I can't count how many bait-and-switch "deals" are going on (even though they're ILLEGAL) during that day.

    Best to stay home in bed with a good book all day long.

    November 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ibn sAlem

    Stupid pagan worshipping materialistic kuffar. Slaves of this world!

    November 27, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Victor

    Haven't been shopping after Thanksgiving since 1991 when it took an hour to find space. We are being brainwashed by commercials and promises of great deals. The media also adds fuel to stoke the greed. We don't shop for Xmas. If the kids want anything, they can get it anytime in the year. We taught them being responsible and not overloading with useless toys. Despite our high income and stable jobs, the kids understand there are more to life than stuffs advertised for Xmas. It's hard work to help them differentiate needs from wants. Thanksgiving and Xmas are not about buying stuff for oneself but for the services to those less fortunate. Sad story this is.

    November 27, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rahul

    @ renee – Its amazing how people like you are completely comfortable being so morally bankrupt. You're a shining example of what's wrong with this country.

    November 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joyce E Neal

    Americans are so stupid, why would you leave stuff in a car when it is shopping season – stupid. All I can say regarding this story is – just plain stupid. When are Americans going to stop buying into the hype? Don't you realize that those same bargains are going to be back in a couple of weeks? Stores just want to see what is selling, so more will be order. Maybe one day Americans will learn, until then Americans hold the top rung on stupidity.

    November 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alexa

    Disgusting. What is wrong with people that they are so driven by greed they will wait in freezing cold for a electronic. ? Theft is to be expected this time of year. You should know better then to leave a car full of items as an invation. I am proud to say we do zero shopping, do not give gifts, instead we focus on the gathering, the meal and being together. Unless you have small children, no reason for gifts at all. Its not what the season is about. If people believe that standing in line overnight is critical to their well being, they need to take a long hard look at their lives and what they represent to themselves and their families.

    November 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jajibokum

    Not worth it

    November 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LiberalNN

    That's a lot of Obama supporters trampling each other.

    November 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • kburgoyne

      Only since you wish to play that stupid game, then I'll say they are obviously all mindless regressives.

      I'm reality, I have no doubt it is a solid mix of both progressives and regressives - all standing in line together and treating each other civilly (thieves aside). A scene which I’m sure your apparently hate filled mind has a difficult time grasping.

      November 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David

    Didn't spend a dime at the stores. Went to the museum instead.

    November 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kburgoyne

    I don't know what the traffic/parking laws are like in MO, but in CA if somebody tows your car without there being a properly written and properly posted sign, which includes the proper reference to the legal statute that gives the legal "teeth" to the sign, the parking lot owner and the towing company have some serious legal exposure.

    The requirement that the signs be legally enforceable is the primary reason that every parking lot has pretty much exactly that same signs in it from exactly the same sign printing companies. It's because the parking lot owners are relying upon the companies that print such signs to provide them with a proper legally enforceable sign.

    Just posting some arbitrary sign is insufficient grounds for ticketing or towing a vehicle, as is posting the signs incorrectly. The grounds for ticketing or towing are the legal statutes, not the sign itself. The signs are required to advise drivers that the parking lot owner intends to enforce the legal statutes, and are required if the parking lot owner intends to enforce the statutes.

    Because of the legal exposure, towing companies will generally not tow a vehicle unless the parking lot owner has the proper signage in place. I rather suspect the drivers in St Louis were “adjusting their story” so they didn’t have to admit to making a mistake for which they were caught. If not, and if the MO laws are anything like the CA traffic laws, then they should take some pictures and get their money back.

    There are probably 1 in 50 drivers who will actually admit to having broken the law when they’re pulled over. Nearly all drivers immediate start making some kind of excuse for why they were not at fault. That’s why many traffic offices will say the most likely (but definitely not automatic) way to get out of a ticket is to be fully and honestly repentant about what you did, and thank the officer for raising your awareness that you need to be more careful in the future.

    In nearly all towns, the traffic officers are good people who are just trying to enforce safety for the benefit for everyone and not some evil villains just out to write tickets. If the officer is in a good enough mood, or has just finished dealing with another driver who was a real argumentative pain and the officer appreciates how you’re being nice and making his/her life easier, then you just might get off with a warning.

    November 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
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