Shoe-crazed shoppers force open Northlake mall doors
by Staff Writer
Impatient shoppers at Northlake Mall ripped a door off of its tracks early morning Friday, Dec. 23, as they tried to snag a pair of Nike’s latest pair of Michael Jordan-brand shoes before Christmas.
It was a scene that played out at malls and stores across the region as people jostled, scrambled and sometimes fought for the $180 Air Jordan XI Retro Concords.
At Northlake, three shoe stores were scheduled to open early Friday. Scores turned out to wait in line at the mall’s Entrance 6 before 6 a.m. to get a pair. Richard Diaz, who works as the Herald Weekly’s distribution manager, was in line hoping to get a pair of shoes for his daughter.
“Everyone was pretty calm until 6 a.m. when the mall was supposed to open,” he said. “That’s when people started trying to pry the door open.”
One man in the back yelled to “throw a trashcan through the door” and others yelled ways to get it open, Diaz said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police were stationed at the mall. But before police could intervene, one shopper was able to slip through a narrow slit in the door, and the throng began to push one another to rip the doors apart, Diaz said.
“Once she got inside,” he said. “That’s when people started going crazy.”
The mob pushed the door off of its tracks and rushed into the mall. Police dispatched 40 officers to regain order. One person was arrested, Charlotte Officer R.D. Harrington said.
No injuries were reported, but Diaz said some people were knocked to the ground and stepped on in the melee. Diaz said he and several others didn’t participate in the shoving, which was mostly done by younger members of the crowd.
Phil Morosco, spokesman for Northlake Mall, said the doors were easily fixed, and after police stepped in shoppers quickly regained composure.
“After that early incident, everything quickly (went) back to normal, and the rest of the day went smoothly,” Morosco said.
A similar scene could be found at Carolina Place Mall in South Charlotte as shoppers got angry as people cut in line at a Foot Locker store and began shoving their way to the front. Two women there were captured on camera punching one another by WBTV, the Herald Weekly’s news partner.
A man was stabbed outside of a New Jersey store, shots were fired in San Fransisco and scores of arrests were reported across the country as people became unruly waiting to buy the retro shoes.
Some have cashed in by reselling the shoes online. Several pairs are for sale on Craigslist.co, in the Charlotte area for as much as $400. On eBay, the shoes have sold for as much as $500.