Here’s why cops swarmed the Lakewood Center Mall Saturday

People heading to the Lakewood Center Mall Saturday afternoon were greeted by an unusually large presence of police officers. Though the amount of officers may have put some shoppers on edge, authorities said they were tipped off to reports of a potential “flash mob” that threatened to rush the mall and steal items from stores.

Lt. Jeffrey Ivask of the Lakewood Sheriff Department said online conversations of the supposed mob prompted authorities to show up in force with multiple patrol vehicles and a helicopter continually circling the mall.

Two officers on site said they were there for “extra security” and are keeping an eye out for a large crowd, adding that “nothing is happening.” Mall staff and security said they had no information.

“I think our presence has deterred them,” said Ivask.

A similar incident occurred at the at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance last week as a group of about 75 teens caused a disturbance that evening, Fox 11 Los Angeles reported.

Reporter Brandon Richardson contributed to this report.

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Sebastian Echeverry is the North Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of his grant-funded position with the Long Beach Post. If you want to support Sebastian's work, you can donate to his Report for America position at