Police confront teen mob in Center City; 14 arrested

Posted: April 11, 2013

Fourteen people were arrested Tuesday afternoon when police confronted an unruly teenage mob in Center City, authorities said.

About 3:50 p.m., 100 to 200 young people were seen running near 15th and Chestnut Streets, Police Chief Inspector Cynthia Dorsey said.

Officers tracked the crowd and tried to bring it under control as it moved between nearby blocks, Dorsey said.

Two girls were arrested for fighting, Dorsey said.

"We don't know at this point if they were here to watch a fight or a fight spontaneously broke out," said Dorsey, a city officer assigned to the Philadelphia School District's Office of School Safety.

"At some point, bottles were thrown at police," but no one was hurt, Dorsey said.

The Wendy's restaurant on the northwest corner of 15th and Chestnut, a popular hangout for teens, was closed to keep potential marauders out.

"It was kind of chaotic for a while," Dorsey said.

Even after police dispersed the crowds, rowdy youths lingering in the area kept some storekeepers on edge.

Three females and 11 males were arrested, and Dorsey said she believed they were all teenagers. She said she did not know which schools they attended.

(UPDATE, 9:43 a.m. Wednesday: Ten of the teens arrested have a detention hearing today. They are charged with conspiracy, obstructing highways, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct. Four are still being processed by police.)

Officers from several departments responded to the incident, including city police, School District officers, SEPTA police, and the Sheriff's Department.

Dorsey said police would beef up their presence in the area to make sure the incident was not repeated.

"This is beautiful weather," she said. "We want people to have fun."

Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

Inquirer staff writer Jennifer Lin contributed to this article.

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