Colo. grocery stores calling police on 'gallon smashers'

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. - Three of Colorado's major grocery chains are trying to stop a growing prank where teenagers videotape themselves smashing gallons of milk or juice in stores.

Safeway, King Soopers, and Albertsons have all reported multiple gallon smashing incidents during recent weeks, after videos of the prank surfaced on YouTube.

"They're going in, trying to get the attention of other people," Douglas County Sheriff Deputy Chad Teller said. "I'm sure that's the whole point of the video is to be funny."

Teller, however, said the prank, where teenagers walk up behind unsuspecting people in the store and slip with gallons of milk or juice, is pointless.

Douglas County Sheriff officials are investigating a Feb. 26 incident at the King Soopers on University Boulevard in Highlands Ranch.

Three teenagers walked into the store and smashed gallons of milk, creating a major cleanup for store managers.

Cops say those kids will be charged with criminal mischief.

Douglas County law enforcement officials say they are also investigating two more incidents.

"It definitely puts people in danger because they're leaving spills of milk on the floor," Teller said. "People are still walking through the store."

Safeway, Albertsons, and King Soopers officials have notified store managers to watch out for the pranksters.

"If you're going to act foolish, we are going to call the cops," Safeway spokeswoman Kris Staaf said.

Staaf said Safeway stores in Ft. Collins, Lakewood, and Colorado Springs all reported incidents during recent weeks.

She was hopeful the prank has slowed down, since store officials have not reported any incidents this week.

"It's a safety hazard," King Soopers Spokeswoman Kelli McGannon said. "Our number one priority is safety."

McGannon and Staaf also said store managers will have to throw out damaged product if milk or other liquids come in contact.

Greeley Police investigated a gallon smashing incident at the King Soopers, 6922 10th St. last month.

The case is still under investigation, according to Greeley Police Sgt. Susan West. Police believe they have identified the suspects.

Albertsons released a statement saying store officials are turning over all surveillance video of the pranks to police.

"We're taking these steps because we want our customers to be safe," the statement read. "We want everyone to know that pranks like Gallon Smashing that threaten customer safety won't be tolerated."


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