Two police departments in Cape May County are investigating incidents of a new type of crime: gallon smashing.
Officer Roger Lillo of the Wildwood Police Department investigated two incidents of three juvenile boys walking into the CVS and Walgreens on Park Boulevard on March 7, taking gallon containers of milk, throwing them on the floor and then pretending to slip and fall in the mess.
Lillo was called to the Walgreens but the juveniles fled. A search that night for the suspects was unsuccessful.
“I didn’t know what it was about,” Lillo said.
The officer received the surveillance footage form Walgreens and he was preparing to circulate it to his other officers, but they already saw footage of the incident posted on YouTube.
“Apparently it was a new trend,” he said. “(The juveniles) posted the video on YouTube as a prank.”
The first Gallon Smashing YouTube video was posted three weeks ago by three teens in Virginia. A “Gallon Smashing” Facebook page was created on March 10. It had 38 Likes as of Tuesday afternoon.
Lillo said the incident at the Walgreens caused a lot of damage to merchandise at the store and an employee had to work overnight to clean everything up. Lillo said he has identified the three 15-year-old Wildwoods residents from the video and has charged all three with criminal mischief and conspiracy. They will be arrested later this week and then released back to their families, he said.
“I’ve never had anything like this in Wildwood before,” he said. “It’s not been a problem in Wildwood and I hope it won’t be in the future.”
Capt. John Edwards of the Middle Township Police Department, said officers are investigating a gallon smashing incident from March 2 at the Acme in Cape May Court House. The store’s surveillance cameras had a blind spot so there is no video of the incident, he said.