Burlington Coat Factory Riot Breaks Out

Saturday, May 11th, 2013 By

Woman didn’t keep promise to buy clothes

Image from Flikr.

Image from Flikr.

A word to the wise, people: If you’re ever out shopping and someone marches into the store and says she’ll pay for $500 worth of merchandise for everyone, remember that sometimes people lie. Furthermore, if this happens to you, please exercise further common sense by realizing that if a stranger walks in and offers to buy clothing for you and then doesn’t follow through, you are not allowed to steal it.

A Burlington Coat Factory riot broke out on Tuesday when a woman emerged from a limousine at the store and told cashiers she had won the lottery and would spend up to $500 on everybody in the store. Guaranteed loans may be guaranteed, but promises from strangers have no such legal backing. I’m not sure who I think is crazier in this story: the woman who lied about winning the lottery and being able to buy stuff for everyone, or the people who caused a riot and started looting the store after they realized the stranger wouldn’t be funding their purchases.

Details on Burlington Coat Factory riot

It all started at a Burlington Coat Factory location in Columbus, OH. Though the fact that I first read about this in the Weekly World News made me wonder which was the real hoax, the story is confirmed in the Chicago Tribune and on MSNBC. As they tell it, a woman named Linda Brown rolled up to the store in a rented limousine Tuesday and “walked to a cash register and loudly announced she had won the lottery and would pay for each person’s merchandise up to $500,” police said.

She told people she had won $1.5 million. Customers started calling relatives and friends, and soon the store had to call in police officers to handle the crowd. Brown went to the bank to get the money to pay for everything, then came back empty handed. She hadn’t won anything and had no money.

And the crowd goes wild

Once customers found out they weren’t getting free stuff, the Burlington Coat Factory riot broke out as “Angry customers threw merchandise around and looted, leaving the store looking as though a hurricane had passed through it, police said,” according to MSNBC. Some customers took off with their merchandise without paying for it, and police are reviewing surveillance footage to find those people.

Announcing to a store that you will buy things for everyone and then not doing it isn’t a crime. However, receiving $900 worth of limousine services and not paying for it is. When the limo driver realized he wasn’t going to get paid, he turned Brown into the police.

Quite the rap sheet

Turns out, the woman who caused the Burlington Coat Factory riot has three outstanding warrants for aggravated menacing, misuse of 911 systems and causing false alarms. Interesting hobby.

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