San Leandro police to create 'wilding' task force

Bay City News
Friday, June 6, 2014
teenagers in San Leandro

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- San Leandro police are forming a task force with other East Bay law enforcement agencies to address recent robberies in the city involving unruly crowds of juveniles and young adults.

San Leandro police have reported three incidents of "wilding," unruly criminal behavior committed by large groups of people, since Saturday.

Several of the incidents involved juveniles targeting other juveniles in robberies and assaults, but in one incident that occurred Monday on East 14th Street, a group of juveniles surrounded a car occupied by two adults and a 2-year-old child, stole items from it and then attempted to drive away it while the child remained inside.

Two of the teenagers involved in that incident were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking, kidnapping and child endangerment, according to police.

Police have said there is no evidence the incidents reported this week are connected or involve the same suspects.

Officials believe a YouTube video (warning: contains strong language) taken in Downtown Chicago last year, set off a trend called "wilding." They use social media to organize a flash mob that goes on a rampage.

"We have a city that we have to deal with, with other calls for service and if you have to babysit and continue to watch these juveniles as they're walking around, it takes up all our resources," said San Leandro Police Lt. Mike Sobek.

Law enforcement representatives will meet Friday to discuss the issue and form a task force.

(ABC7 News contributed to this report)