Twittering Teens Terrorize the City

By Karen Araiza
|  Monday, Jun 1, 2009  |  Updated 9:58 AM EDT
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Twittering Teens Terrorize the City

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The teens hijacked a taxi and then crashed it into a light pole at 12th and Fitzwater. The taxi driver was treated for minor injuries.

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A mob of tech-savvy teens tweeted their way into the same place in South Philly over the weekend and then went wild.

"It's kind of a new dynamic that's growing, with large groups of juveniles using the social networks to get out the word," said Philly police Lt. Frank Vanore. "We're not going to tolerate it."

Hundreds of teens who coordinated through MySpace and Twitter, hijacked a taxi at 12th and South Street, assaulted and yanked a woman and passenger out of their car and vandalized a convenience store at Broad and Catharine Streets.

Most of the teens were between the ages of 14 and 17.

Police noticed the same sort of thing happening in the past few weeks. They've been monitoring the social networking sites, but this latest gathering was bigger --  more than 100 teens -- and overwhelmed law enforcement. "With a big crowd, there's nothing you can do," Vanore said.

A Daily News editor watched the teen mob move in different directions along South Street as some held cell phones to their ears or sent text messages.

"They were running over cars and running in front of moving cars," the staffer said.

Some teens were caught and charged with violating the midnight curfew, Vanore told the Inquirer. But no one was arrested for the more serious violations. The plan now is to beef up the number of cops in South Philly and the Metro's reported that police will press the city to put a night court in place to deal with any teen mob problems in the future.

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