OCOEE, Fla. – A large group of looters shattered glass doors so they could break into West Oaks Mall early Sunday morning, according to the Ocoee Police Department.
Officers said they got a call around 2:45 a.m. about a numerous vehicles driving recklessly through nearby shopping plazas and at the mall.
When police arrived, they said they found a group of 10 to 15 people with coverings on their face smashing the glass casing of a cellphone accessory stand. A jewelry kiosk had also been damaged, records show.
The looters ran when officers began to approach and a foot chase ensued, according to the affidavit.
A woman identified as Sara Perkins was taken into custody after she was hit with a Taser and another suspect, Joe Frazier, was also arrested during the foot pursuit, records show. Both are 18.
Police said Jamar Toler, 24, and Donte Sylvester, 22, were both arrested outside the mall as they were walking away from the property.
Frazier said he was curious about what was going on, so he followed a group of cars to West Oaks Mall and entered the closed property after someone else shattered the glass doors, according to the affidavit. When asked if he planned to take anything from the mall, he said he “needed some things for his house,” the report said.
Toler said he’s a vlogger so he only went to the mall to record video of the incident but he lost his phone in the chaos, records show.
Perkins said she saw a post on Snapchat about what was happening so she also went inside the mall to record video but ultimately ended up participating in the vandalism and taking items, authorities said.
Sylvester said he was asleep in a friend’s car and when he woke up, he was at the mall and he heard someone say, “We’re going shopping,” according to the affidavit. He denied going inside the mall and said he left once he realized what was happening.
Police said they found a pair of vice grips, a loaded Glock handgun and blood on the damaged kiosks. All four suspects denied knowing anything about the gun.
They’re facing charges of burglary, resisting arrest without violence and petite theft.
About 15 minutes before that incident, police said two unknown men used a large rock to smash the glass front door of a nearby Spectrum store so they could steal merchandise.
Both crimes happened after protests across Central Florida orchestrated by people who want justice for George Floyd, a black man who died after an officer held his knee down on his neck during an arrest.
While many of the demonstrations have remained peaceful, there have been reports nationwide and locally of looting and vandalism.
Orange County remains under a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice.