A cruel hoax at a Burlington Coat factory in Columbus, Ohio ended in a messy riot.
A woman arrived at the store in a Hummer limo, announcing that she’d won the lottery and offering to cover tabs totaling up to $500. Police likened the scene to the devastation after Hurricane Katrina, and say 500 people crowded the store while 1,000 waited outside as recession-strapped consumers fought to take advantage of Linda Brown’s generous offer.
Before the hoax was even revealed, two dozen police officers were called in to quell the unrest sparked by the woman, who claimed to have won 1.5 million dollars. One desperate shopper said that she didn’t need clothes, but help paying her rent, for which Brown wrote out a check. As cashiers rang sale after sale, Brown left in her limo to withdraw funds to cover the large scale shopping spree- but returned empty handed. The situation predictably worsened, with the large crowds expecting free things and not willing to leave empty handed. Shoppers began throwing merchandise on the floor and looting.
When the limo driver realized he wouldn’t be paid for the debacle either, he turned Brown in to the police. She was charged with aggravated menacing, misuse of a 911 system and causing false alarms. She has not yet been charged in relation to the riot at the store, pending a mental health evaluation.