Violent, thieving mobs — called flash mobs because they spring up almost instantaneously, loot and ransack a business and disperse within a minute or two — have been seen across the country over the past several years. Not surprisingly, they’ve now made their way into New York City.

Newsstand and convenience store owners in New York say the mobs of 20, 30, 40 or more are hitting their establishments regularly, stealing merchandise, damaging property and injuring customers.

“They assemble, they do whatever it is they’re going to do, and then they disassemble in a matter minutes. By the time somebody recognizes what is happening or is injured, if the police are able to respond, it is slow,” Jon Shane, assistant professor of criminal justice at John Jay College told CBS New York.

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