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. Bob in Kansas City

    More proof that Americans are some of the dumbest people on the planet.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. David

    Waste of energy.......all brain washed.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. ghost of c.p.

    The reasons for this kind of behavior can be found by simply reading the comments. People can't even stop turning on one another on a stupid blog, much less a crowded store on a stressfull shopping day. Way to feel the Christmas spirit everybody! And those of you who should feel ashamed because of the ignorance of your comments, probably can't for lack of humility, humanity, or simple clarity.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    Christmas has gotten out of hand. This rampant buying of "stuff" that nobody needs is putting hard pressed families into more debt and frustration. Adults and children need to chill and remember that Christmas is a RELIGIOUS holiday. I guess the recession is over as people seem to have more money than sense.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. hfe

    If you are a participant in the idiocy that is Black Friday then you get what you deserve.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. beaconia

    Black Friday is a joke.Its just a day 4 stores 2 suck u in 2 buy stuff u cant afford.If smart u would start shopin in july a little at a time and u would b done by Thanksgiving. Good luck next year

    November 28, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Scarlett75

    This story and all of these "heart warming" comments made me (an almost exclusively internet only shopper, who did not go near a retail store on Black Friday by the way) pull out a classic. I wanted to share a few of the best quotes:
    "Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it."

    "If I could work my will, said Scrooge indignantly, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"

    "I don't make merry myself at Christmas, and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned – they cost enough:and those who are badly off must go there."
    'Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'
    "If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

    "Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea–on, on–until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him."

    Merry Christmas, Everyone!
    (T-Mobile manager should have prepped his lot the night before to keep cars out. You're next to a Best Buy that opens at an insane hour and will be packed. So instead of having a brain, the manager ruined Christmas for children. Wonder if the manager's name is Ebenezer. As for the shoppers and thieves, if you can't respect your fellow man the rest of the year, for goodness sakes, can't you do it for one month! Maybe you'll like that warm, fuzzy feeling and do it year round!)

    November 28, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Scarlett75

    WOW! Now this is heartwarming! Check out the follow-up on Ms. Brown's tragic situation. (The woman that camped out since Wednesday and had her purchases stolen from her car.) A white knight with Christmas Spirit: Alan Howard of NY is a hero to me! http://www.wpbf.com/r/25935868/detail.html

    November 28, 2010 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. Home Depot Employee

    Our "crowd control" strategy at our store is simple, but it prevents problems like these from even starting. From the moment the first customer gets in line (2:30 this year for our 5am opening) we have two associates out there. Hot chocolate, coffee, a laugh and a smile... we've even brought out chairs for customers that are very tired... these small things go a long way toward setting a positive environment. We even set up tailgating tents this year b/c it started to drizzle. Seeing our customers get the items they want and knowing they're safe and happy easily makes up for the cold and early morning!! I hope that others would take our example to heart... take care of your customers and everything else takes care of itself.

    November 28, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Rocky

      That's an excellent way of doing business.

      November 28, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. shoplocal

    Shopping at large retailers kills the manufacturers. Manufacturers pay for all the discounts while Best Buy, Target, Walmart, etc. keep all the profit for themselves. Everyone screams about jobs moving offshore but yet we do nothing about it and continue to support activities that force manufacturers to find cheaper ways of producing products. As an example, Best Buy is selling a home theater system for $84. Do you really believe that you can design, produce, ship, and pay for all the advertising Best Buy will charge for only $84?? Start thinking about where you make your purchases. The choice you make will influence the choice a manufacturer makes with regards to where they establish their business.

    November 28, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. Gumby

    Jesus who?

    November 28, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. 2Much4U

    These "Stampedes of Stupidity" should be outlawed by the feds as a safety issue because every year it's the same crap – someone innocent gets hurt. These events are attended by many well meaning folks, but there's obviously a large percentage of selfish, self-centered types that have no respect for anyone. The retailers aren't stupid – they know the potential dangers of such an unorganized event and take MINIMAL precautions to insure safety, so they trigger the need for regulation for acting irresponsibly. If they aren't willing to do what it takes to make these events orderly outside the store entrance they should not be allowed to hold them – or be held liable for not meeting a safety standard.

    November 28, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. CC

    What is wrong with all of these people???? These are just things and people have come to behave like wild animals in order to "get what they or a member of their families want" for Christmas. This is why I stay far away from stores on Black Friday and the entire weekend. This is not what the holiday season should be about. People stampeding, threatening others, being rude or cruel, stealing purchases from other shoppers.....all of you should be ashamed that you are so self-centered and focused on getting more things rather than exhibiting kindness and consideration towards other people....not only during the holiday season but all year long. It is disgraceful to see what we have become.

    November 28, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. tachdriver

    Where are the lawyers when you need to sue ! This would put a stop to Black and Blue Fridays.

    November 28, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Eddie guerrero

    seriously who gets fruit in their stocking? Hippies! that's who, you all need to put down your 168 degree lattes and your Jane Austin novels and realize sometimes putting a smile on your childrens face is worth any trouble you have to go through, its not materialism its called sacrafice

    November 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
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