CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Police say 5 young teens were arrested at the Walden Galleria on Christmas, and an additional 7 were arrested the following day. In all police kicked out 80 to 90 young people out of the mall over that two night period. Fortunately there were no reported injuries as a result of these malls fights, but Cheektowaga police say these types of brawls at the Galleria are nothing new.
“We had bans of kids roaming the mall, causing trouble in the mall, fighting fights with each other we were running from one fire to the other and when I say fire I mean one fight to another,” said Assistant Chief Jim Speyer, Cheektowaga Police.
Chaotic scenes that erupted at malls across the country following Christmas day kept police busy in other states, and also in Cheektowaga. On Christmas and the following day 12 young people total were arrested for disorderly conduct at the Walden Galleria. One of the kids even had a loaded handgun on him.
“One of the individuals that was barred from the mall returned to the mall and was arrested for trespass that was a 14-year-old. When he was arrested we discovered he had a loaded hand gun on him,” said Speyer.
Cheektowaga police say mall fights have been a reoccurring issue at the Walden Galleria for the past 10 years.
“You’re just trying to go to the mall after Christmas shopping spend those gift cards and you see all that activity it’s pretty scary you know you can’t go shopping peacefully,” said Danielle Brown, Walden Galleria shopper.
Police say on Christmas night and the following day, they put extra man power at the mall. They also work with NFTA police. Assistant Chief Speyer says most of the kids there on those days are either there to look for trouble or watch it.
“You hope that when you come to a mall to go shopping you come into a peaceful environment and with nonsense like that going on you go to wonder where the parents are of these kids,” said Mike Whalen, Walden Galleria shopper.
“The big issue is it’s Christmas, and parents drop them off there half the time. They’re not supervised. They just expect other people to babysit their kids,” said Speyer.
Police say they will monitor the mall on New Years Eve and New Years Day and keep an eye on it, but police say they have not had the issues on New Years that they do on Christmas.