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Update: Great America’s Halloween Haunt melee yields 12 crime reports, more expected – The Mercury News

SANTA CLARA — One day after California’s Great America shuttered the doors to its Halloween festivities, Santa Clara police are still tallying the number of victims from a reported robbery and assault spree that erupted Saturday night inside the amusement park.

As of Monday morning, police have taken at least 12 reports of strong-arm robbery and two reports of assault and battery stemming from a crime spree that broke out at the amusement park’s 10th annual Halloween Haunt.

Santa Clara police Lt. Dan Moreno said he expects those numbers to grow.

“I think there will be more reports,” said Moreno, adding that some victims may have left the park before police arrived. 

Santa Clara police estimated about 100 teens were responsible for the mayhem, which broke out about 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the Great America Haunt. About 20,000 visitors were inside the park; the weekend before Halloween is typically the busiest of the year for the October event, police said.

Police arrested one minor on suspicion of theft, Moreno said. Visitors reported seeing other perpetrators escape into waiting cars.

Park patrons reported encountering groups of robbers, some armed with stun guns, who ran through crowds stealing mobile phones, purses, and backpacks and sending visitors fleeing for the exits. Some panicked visitors tried to scale park fences. About 30 patrons were injured, according to one security guard’s estimate.

Four Santa Clara police officers were working privately at the park on contracted security shifts. When the mayhem broke out, 15 additional Santa Clara officers were called in, Moreno said.

“It was terrible,” said a San Francisco mom who had brought her 17-year-old daughter and a friend to the haunt. “A kid in a hoodie ran up and pried the phone out of my hands.”

The mother, who does not want to be named out of safety concerns, said she then frantically searched for her daughter amid terrified crowds as people were being assaulted. Her daughter and friend were not physically harmed.

“One lady got punched in the face,” she said. “Security did nothing to try to get those guys out.”

Park officials did not close down the Halloween Haunt, police said. But a source familiar with the park response told this news organization that once the attacks were made known to officials, park lights were turned on and sound was turned down in certain areas of the park, and select attractions were closed.

A supervising guard with a security firm contracted by the park said what began as groups snatching items escalated “to them going around beating up people randomly, even security guards and actors in the mazes.” The guard, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the incident, said officers from neighboring jurisdictions also were called in to restore order.

Even so, police and park security were outnumbered, visitors reported.

The park remained open until its normal 1 a.m. closing time.

Sunday was the final day of the Halloween Haunt.

Check back later for updates to this story.

Update: Great America’s Halloween Haunt melee yields 12 crime reports, more expected – The Mercury News

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