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Deputies Respond To Dulles Town Center Mall Crowd Early This Morning

December 23, 2011

LCSO, VSP Respond to Dulles Town Center Mall For Crowd Control During Early Morning Shoe Sale

(Statement Just Released) The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office responded to the Dulles Town Center Mall early this morning when a crowd of several hundred shoppers, hoping to buy Nike shoes at a bargain price, became unruly.

On Friday, December 23, 2011, shortly after midnight, shoppers began gathering in the north side parking lot of the Dulles Town Center Mall (DTC), near the Cheesecake Factory restaurant, some from as far away as Washington, DC and Richmond, VA. Several sports outlets in the area, including the Finish Line and Foot Locker stores at DTC, had advertised Nike's Air Jordan shoes for sale at a low price. The stores were to open at 3AM and quantities were limited.

Mall security tried to keep the crowd, numbering over 250, from gathering near the entrance. When some were able to gain entry into the mall, dozens began rushing in, but were made to go back outside. The Sheriff's Office was called for assistance. The responding deputies were quickly overwhelmed by the unruly crowd, which pushed and shoved the deputies against walls and glass doors.

Additional deputies, including members of the Civil Disturbance Unit were called out. Mutual aid was unavailable from neighboring jurisdictions due to similar incidents in those counties.

Virginia State Police responded, sending 11 units.

Law Enforcement authorities were able to bring the crowd under control without serious incident. Deputies and Troopers assisted the stores with a lottery for the shoppers. Over 350 tickets were handed out and customers were allowed to come inside as their numbers were called. Officers kept order at both stores as the sales were completed and even escorted those lucky shoppers to their vehicles afterward.

The Mall, which was closed for the duration of the incident, was able to open for regular business by 7:30 AM.

No arrests were made, nor are any expected. One woman suffered a leg injury during the original melee. She was treated and released at the scene by rescue personnel and remained on site to complete her purchase. The Sheriff's Office also took one report of a wallet lost to a pickpocket.

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