Multiple people arrested by officers at Dolphin Mall on Black Friday

Officers confirm 4 people arrested on busiest shopping day of year

South Florida shoppers hit the malls looking for those Black Friday deals. For many, it's the unofficial start to the holiday season, but police say several people were looking for merchandise with no plans to pay.

SWEETWATER, Fla. – It’s the busiest shopping day of the year, and at Dolphin Mall, that means Sweetwater police have been busy, too.

Officers confirmed they arrested four people on Black Friday -- three for shoplifting and one person for inappropriate touching.

Body camera footage shows officers approaching a man in the mall.

“The subject took off on officers, actually pushing one of our officers out of the way so that he can flee,” Officer Jonathan Arche said. “He ran inside the mall and through the parking lot, at which point officers were able to take that person into custody without incident.”

With more than 100,000 people passing through the mall daily this holiday weekend, police have added staffing and deployed a drone to keep an eye on any would-be criminals targeting parked cars.

RELATED: Police use drones to keep watch at Dolphin Mall

“I noticed as soon as we came in, I saw police officers, so (it) gives you peace of mind,” shopper Jessica Sancho said.

Sancho braved the crowds with her son and niece in search of discounts on clothing.

“It was just -- the parking was insane,” Sancho said, adding that it took about 40 minutes to find a parking spot.

It was just as busy inside. Shoppers who made a day of it grabbed a quick break before tackling the next round of purchases.

“This is insane. Almost, like, claustrophobic,” Dana Laws said.

Laws and her niece traveled from Port St. Lucie. After trying unsuccessfully to find parking at Sawgrass Mills on Friday morning, they regrouped and came to Dolphin Mall, hoping crowds would be minimal after so many got an early start on Thanksgiving.

“They’re still here. And they’re coming in, like, it’s like cockroaches,” Laws said.

Now that she’s here, she’s sticking to her deal-hunting criteria: not just any discount will do.

“I feel like they could do a little better than 30% off for Black Friday. You better be coming at 50% -- starting at,” Laws said. “That’s my standard.”

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.