Gangs of brazen criminals looted and ransacked several stores in Philadelphia after murder charges against a police officer were dropped in a case related to a fatal shooting.
Police said thugs erupted in a stealing spree after a judge decided to drop charges against a cop who fatally shot Eddie Irizarry.
The unruly crowd outnumbered responding officers as they went from store to store in Center City, the main dining and shopping scene in downtown Philadelphia, CBS Philadelphia reported.
Videos on social media show crowds of crooks lifting merchandise and stuffing it in large plastic bags.
The shoplifters hit a Foot Locker and Apple store near 15th and Chestnut streets as well as a Lululemon in Rittenhouse Square and are accused of assaulting a security guard at the shoe store, according to the local station.
At least 15 people were arrested in connection with the frenzied mass-shoplifting event, according to ABC7.
Police started receiving calls around 8 p.m. Tuesday night about a large crowd moving into Center City, NBC 10 reported.
The crowd eventually turned to rioting and started ransacking a Foot Locker, Lulumelon, and an Apple store, among other businesses, before at least 20 were arrested.
Video footage of the looting showed a large police presence outside of a Lulumelon as numerous people ran out of the store carrying stolen clothing.
The footage also shows police detaining at least four looters on the ground outside of the store.
🚨#BREAKING: Large Crowds of people have started Riot and Loot multiple stores as Citywide Rapid Response has been Activated
Philadelphia Police have activated a citywide rapid response following large crowds of people gathering and rioting, and engaging… pic.twitter.com/ronKIax9rO
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) September 27, 2023
The thieves seemed unimpacted by the ruling in the Irizarry case as they delightedly helped themselves to high-value merchandise.
Many of the “protesters” were seen laughing and excitedly filming the events on their cell phones as others fled with stolen goods.
— Dixie (@OSiiNT) September 27, 2023
Another video recorded live and uploaded to social media shows dozens of people looting a liquor store.
The person behind the camera can be heard saying, “That’s what I’m talking about. Everybody must eat.”
Philadelphia continues to be in absolute chaos. pic.twitter.com/hgMphlu8c9
— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) September 27, 2023
The Philadelphia stores were looted after murder charges were dropped against former police officer Mark Dial for the fatal shooting of Eddie Irizarry.
Irizarry was shot while he was holding a knife by his right leg during a traffic stop last month.
Philadelphia Municipal Judge Wendy Pew dismissed all charges, including a murder count, against Dial, according to NBC 10.
Judge Pew determined that the shooting was justified.
Leftist Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner vowed to appeal the judge’s decision, however.
“Special Investigations Unit prosecutors will be filing an appeal of this decision to the Court of Common Pleas by the end of today,” Krasner’s office said.
“In keeping with our oath to seek justice, we will move to have all criminal charges, including Murder, reinstated against this defendant.”
Following the judge’s move to drop the charges against Dial, people initially gathered to peacefully protest the decision.
Acting Police Commissioner John Stanford sought to distance the rioting that eventually broke out from the protests that took place earlier in the day.
“This had nothing to do with the protests,” Stanford said.
“What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists.
“These were not protesters, these were criminals,” he added.
Police said that over 100 juveniles and young adults were involved in the looting.
Authorities are still trying to determine how many businesses were affected during the night of crime.
Meanwhile, Axios reported that retail thefts and carjackings have spiked in the “City of Brotherly Love” over the past year, according to police department data.
Through August 6, car thefts were up 105%, and retail thefts rose 34% while overall property crime spiked 24% compared to the same period in 2022.