Sanford police arrest 2 teens in connection with social media post promoting looting

Both are facing loitering charges

SANFORD, Fla. – Sanford police say two teenagers are facing loitering charges after releasing plans to loot Seminole Towne Center on social media.

Officers with the Sanford Police Department were patrolling the mall and got an alert about the social media post just before 12:30 a.m. Monday. While on patrol, an officer saw the two boys walking toward the mall. One was wearing a heavy black jacket with black pants and white shoes, the other was wearing a thick black jacket and black sweatpants, according to an arrest report. The officer said one of them was also carrying an empty backpack.

Officers say they were able to confirm that one of the teenagers was connected with a social media post circulating on Instagram encouraging others to loot the mall. Police stopped the individuals and asked them about the post, the arrest report reads.

Police also questioned why the two were in the area at that hour. One of the teens said he was merely walking around, according to the arrest report. Officers say that he continued to change his statements and could not explain why he was dressed in dark warm clothing which seemed inconsistent with the hot humid weather.

Authorities called the teenager’s father, who said he was unaware his son had left the house, according to the arrest report.

Officers say because of the boy’s post encouraging looting the mall and then arriving to the location, they found probable cause to charge both teens with a civil citation of loitering and prowling.