Police activity on Pine Ave. in anticipation of the “bash mob.” Photo by Jason Ruiz. 

A destructive gathering of youth reportedly organized through social media to sweep through Downtown Long Beach Friday failed to materialize at its purported time. 

Long Beach Police Department and private security companies servicing local businesses were on full alert across the Downtown core at 2PM, the time police say the so-called “bash mob” was to exit the Blue Line and begin a procession of looting and vandalism.

But as LBPD’s helicopter hovered over the Transit Mall and police on motorcycles, in undercover vehicles and standard patrol cars criss-crossed the streets, the anticipated group of around 150 teenagers did not arrive. 

“We of course are pleased that this afternoons events did not come to fruition,” said Nancy Pratt of LBPD. “I think that their goal was to converge on an area unannounced and then leave before anyone realizes what is taking place and I think that we were able to ruin their plan, if you will, because there was so much media attention on the event.”

Police say the event was organized through social media and is related to a similar incident that reportedly caused damage to Downtown businesses on July 9 when what was estimated to be some 100 teenagers congregated at the Pike at Rainbow Harbor.

The group was first noticed by Pike security as they began to move around the complex, vandalizing and stealing as they moved about. LBPD issued multiple citations and made one arrest that day.

Since it was discovered the group members used the Metro Blue Line for transit, it is assumed that the group was not local. And as the LBPD began to further investigate, they believed a second installment was being planned online for Friday.

As of 3:30PM Friday, police were still out at the Pike and in Downtown, but there was no sign of unruly teenagers. Some suggested that the group might wait until nightfall to strike. 

“We are continuously monitoring the situation,” Pratt said. “We do realize that there is still a possibility that something could occur later this evening and we are ready to respond to that.”

The “bash mob” is unrelated to the peaceful protest that took place in front of the Long Beach courthouse at noon Friday.

Additional reporting by Jason Ruiz.

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