MINNEAPOLIS - There is a criminal twist on something that started out as fun. We've heard of flash mobs. Now, flash 'robs' are popping up in Minneapolis frustrating authorities and frightening victims.
And there is a big difference.
The flash mob - people getting together for a spontaneous dance.
Flash rob - people getting together to attack.
Police say there have been six of these cases since February, most in and around the Nicollet Mall area.
It starts as a big group of people. Then, a smaller group splinters off and spontaneously robs or chases or assaults an innocent passerby.
It happened again on March 23 at 6th Street and Nicollet Avenue. Police say a group of people standing at the bus stop spontaneously attacked two cyclists. One victim suffered a broken jaw. The group then continued down Nicollet, causing commotion outside the Oceanaire restaurant.
And then it was done.
Twenty-year-old Antonio Dewayne Jones has been charged in the case along with several juveniles.
"It's just mainly to create mayhem, assault people and just whatever they can do," said Sgt. Steve McCarty with the Minneapolis Police Department. "It a weird mentality I don't think a lot of people can fathom or understand. Just to victimize people."
Minneapolis police have been stepping up patrols of areas where these flash robberies have popped up. In fact, officers actually saw this latest one happen and arrested the suspects quickly.
And it's happened in St. Paul, too. In the last two years, mobs have robbed two convenience stores in St. Paul.