UPDATE: 11:45 a.m.: A would-be Instagram star hoping to catapult himself into Internet stardom by stripping down to his underwear and causing havoc by dumping a Slurpee on his head, stealing bowling pins, chicken and pizza has been detained by local sheriff’s detectives.
Original Story: A would-be Instagram star hoping to catapult himself into Internet stardom by stripping down to his underwear and causing havoc by dumping a Slurpee on his head, stealing a bowling pin from the bowling alley, stealing chicken and pizzas from fast food places in Newhall has become the subject of a police investigation.
The teenaged suspect, whose identity is known to deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, was being sought this week by deputies pursuing four reports of theft.
The stunts involved two boys who recorded the antics of a third boy as he brazenly marched into storefront businesses on Lyons Avenue, near Peachland and Apple streets.
The would-be Instagram star was, according to the comments posted in response to his antics online, egged on by a fan base of Instagram commenters.
The young aspiring celebrity is dared by his commenters to perform a variety of stunts for the camera, all at the inconvenience, harassment and expense of others.
Four distinct stunts were carried out, recorded and posted online last weekend. A fifth stunt carried out by the same teen allegedly involved the destruction of liquor bottles inside a Newhall liquor store Tuesday.
Detectives with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station have been investigating the incidents since Monday.
Asked why detectives have not arrested the teen if his identity is known, Det. Dan Finn of the sheriff’s Career Offenders, Burglary, and Robbery Apprehension Team – or COBRA, told The Signal: “We’re still investigating.”
Once the stunts have been recorded, the boys then post the videos on Instagram in an attempt, according to one store victim who said he spoke to detectives probing the incidents, to “pump up” the number of “likes” on his Instagram post.
The video images clearly show merchandise taken with no attempt by the boys to pay.
The trio has allegedly stolen merchandise from the four Newhall businesses hit this past weekend – a Slurpee drink from the 7-Eleven on Lyons, chicken from Louisiana Popeye’s Chicken, pizza from Domino’s Pizza and a bowling pin from Valencia Lanes.
“SCV Sheriff’s Station has been made aware of the videos that are circulating of teens going into local business establishments and filming inappropriate behavior,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Monday.
“Our COBRA Team is currently looking into the reported incidents,” she said.
In the online video shot inside Louisiana Popeye’s Chicken, a teenage boy tells the camera: “I’m going to get me some chicken.”
He’s then seen jumping on top of the service counter, then running into the restaurant’s kitchen, emerging with pieces of deep-fried chicken.
He then eats the chicken as he leaves the restaurant.
Louisiana Popeye’s Chicken Manager Sima Amin said the incident forced her – for health reasons – to destroy all the food because of the incident.
“On the video he took three pieces of chicken and walked out, saying he got free chicken,” Amin said, noting she complained about the incident to the deputy assigned to Hart High School, believing the teen was a student there.
“He came in and went to where he’s not supposed to be,” Amin said. “He dis-respected us.
“I have called the sheriff’s (station) and started a report but I need a detective to call me back so I can give them the names of the kids that go to Hart High,” she said.
“Where’s the discipline?,” Amin said.
“There are two to three kids – two of them are filming and one is actually stealing and harassing the local stores on Lyons while being filmed all for likes on social media,” she said.
From the Popeye’s, the boys went directly to a 7-Eleven store on Lyons.
In the online video shot inside the 7-Eleven, the same teen strips down to his red briefs and then marches into the 7-Eleven.
Once inside, he pours a pink-colored Slurpee, then dumps the beverage onto his head, letting it drip onto his bare chest where he rubs the drink over his body.
Then he runs out of the store.
“The cop did come to talk to us – me and the manager from Popeye’s,” store spokesman Daniel Escobedo told The Signal.
“The only reason he (suspect) does this is to get ‘likes’ on his Instagram. He’s trying to get noticed,” Escobedo said.
“We’ve already filed a report with the sheriff,” said a spokesman for Domino’s Pizza on Lyons.
The fast food pizza franchise on Lyons at Apple delivered a pizza to teenage boys who refused to pay the delivery person, the spokesman said.
“They ordered a pizza and when the guy showed up, they grabbed the pizza and didn’t pay him,” he said. “And, they were using obscenities.”
BOWLING PIN THEFT
In a fourth video clip posted online, the same teen boy is recorded running down a bowling lane, falling onto his chest in order to reach under the pin-grabbing machine and steal a bowling pin.
He then runs from the Valencia Lanes bowling facility with the stolen pin.
“He almost got crushed,” said Amin, adding she compared notes about the boys with the manager of the bowling alley.
“It’s ridiculous,” she said.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt