Traverse City News and Events

Charges Could Follow Mall Incident

By Patrick Sullivan | Feb. 4, 2020

Retail fraud charges might follow a misunderstanding that caused a massive police response and a lockdown at the Grand Traverse Mall Saturday.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Capt. Randy Fewless says one of three teenagers – ages 14 and 15 – allegedly shoplifted an airsoft pistol from Dunham’s Sports. Another mall customer alerted security when she saw the youths with what closely resembled a Glock handgun and feared they might be planning a robbery.

That prompted a call to 911 where central dispatchers issued an emergency alert at 4:42pm as deputies, Traverse City Police, and Michigan State Police descended upon the mall.

The responding officers found the airsoft pistol abandoned just outside one of the mall exits and learned the identity of the suspects from witnesses who knew who they were, Fewless says. They soon determined there was no threat to public safety and ended the lockdown.

Though the threat was a misunderstanding, detectives are still conducting interviews to determine exactly what happened. One or more of the teenagers could face retail fraud charges stemming from the stolen weapon, Fewless says.

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