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Police Beef Up Security In Wake Of Downtown Violence, Including 7-Eleven Flash Mob Robbery

BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Eight people have been shot in the last 24 hours citywide—right before the holiday weekend. It's the latest in a string of concerning crimes, including the takeover of a downtown convenience store.

Mike Hellgren has the plans to step up patrols for Memorial Day and beyond.

You can see the increased police presence Thursdays through Sundays throughout the summer. As for that takeover that happened at a 7-Eleven, WJZ spoke to the manager, who told police he was attacked as a group of school-aged children flooded his store, taking merchandise and $6,000.

Video surveillance reveals a flash mob robbery in progress--young people storming a convenience store in Montgomery County months ago. Witnesses describe a similar scene at a 7-Eleven located just steps from the Inner Harbor, where the manager says he was punched in the face trying to stop the thieves.

Police say some were students--in school uniforms--from Mervo High School in Northeast Baltimore.

Brad Schlegel is active in the community surrounding the school and works downtown.

"It's very disconcerting for a group of kids just to show up like that and do the amount of damage they did, to beat up the owner of the store and steal money. It's just not right," said Schlegel, Ednor Gardens block captain.

While school officials aren't talking, it's the talk of the school, according to one student.

"I know a whole bunch of kids went down into the city," said an unidentified student. "I just think it was crazy they would do that over Slurpees. It doesn't make sense."

It gained even greater attention amid growing concerns over downtown security.

WJZ has reported on groups of unruly youth getting in fights and blocking traffic on St. Patrick's Day weekend. That's the same weekend a tourist was beaten and stripped naked.

At a news conference, police said extra enforcement is already in place, including 50 more officers, new patrols involving school police and better camera technology to watch the streets.

"You're going to have issues that happen. You're going to have large groups that come into downtown. What people have to know is that the Baltimore Police Department is prepared and we know how to respond to this," said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore City police.

School officials say they are working with city police to identify the students involved in the incident at the 7-Eleven.

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