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Hide in the Nearest Chico's! Melee Erupts at the Mall of America

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If being locked inside a Chico's store room is your worst nightmare, be glad you weren't shopping at Minnesota's Mall of America yesterday. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that violence erupted in the food court and then spread flash-mob style throughout the mall, which houses more than 400 stores.

Though police received no reports of stolen merchandise, several groups of young people raced through the mall corridors, generally causing chaos and scaring the regular shoppers enough that the Mall temporarily went into lockdown mode. Here's one shopper's story, via the Star Tribune:

Jennifer Reiland of Burnsville said in an e-mail that she was in Chico's about 5 p.m. when she heard an announcement that the mall was in "lockdown mode" and people rushed into the store. Chico's and a nearby Apple store locked their doors with customers inside.

Several stores, including Nordstrom, closed internal gates to the mall court, and a few stayed closed for the evening, the Star Tribune reports—a serious decision on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Though mall officials later said that the lockdown was "premature," we were glad to hear no serious injuries were reported. Contrary to what one might experience at the Ferragamo sample sale, for example, we'd like to remind everyone that shopping is a no-contact sport.

Moving melee causes chaos at packed Mall of America [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
All Crime Blotter posts [Racked]