Scuffles are already breaking out between shoppers desperate to get their hands on Black Friday deals as a record number of stores open on Thanksgiving.
With 41 million people expected to shop on what has been dubbed ‘Gray Thursday’, police have responded to fights and threats between bargain-hungry customers, some of whom have camped outside stores for days.
Outside a Kmart in Indianapolis, which opened at 6am on Thursday, officers responded to a brawl between shoppers as some attempted to sell vouchers the store had handed out for limited items.
‘Everybody started going crazy about it, and then the cops got called in and it just became a madhouse,’ one shopper told News 8.
Police arrived at the scene shortly after the threat – made after shop staff came outside to hand out ‘doorbuster deal’ vouchers to the first in the line – to help control the crowds.
In a bid to minimize trouble, the Los Angeles Police Department will deploy helicopters over some malls, while a cavalry of police officers on bikes and horses will monitor from streets below.
According to the L.A. Times, others will scour crowds from rooftops and signs will warn shoppers against becoming victims of theft.
It comes after a series of previous Black Friday incidents; at a Wal-Mart in the city last year, scores of people were injured when a woman pepper sprayed her competition in a bid for discounted video games. Two years ago, gunfire broke out at a Toys R’ Us, killing two people.
Source: The Daily Mail