NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Plans for a “flash mob” to storm a Cheektowaga hotel on Friday have been disrupted, and town police said they arrested the event’s 17-year-old organizer.
Someone anonymously alerted police late last week that a possible flash mob – a sudden, brief assembly of people typically organized via social media – was being organized on Facebook. The posting for a “Storm the Millennium Party” invited 910 “guests” to converge on the Millennium Hotel on Walden Avenue at 10 p.m. Friday, according to Capt. James Speyer, a police spokesman.
More than 70 people accepted the invitation, with another 34 indicating they might attend, Speyer said. Hotel management confirmed there were no bookings for the event.
“From comments posted on the site, it appeared the party planner’s sole intent was to cause damage and create chaos,” Speyer said.
Ryan E. Paolucci of Lancaster, who posted the invitation, was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor counts of conspiracy and criminal nuisance, as well as a violation charge of disorderly conduct.
Paolucci is cooperating with police, the captain said, discouraging his Facebook friends from attending the gathering.
The hotel has hired additional security in case news of the event’s cancellation hasn’t reached the hundreds of people who were invited, Speyer said. Cheektowaga police also will be in the area and will arrest trespassers on the hotel’s property.
Police said they learned about the event through Tip411, their new hotline utilizing text messaging to alert police about potential criminal activity or to provide information about ongoing investigations. Tips sent by text are received by a third party, and the sender’s personal information is removed before the tip is forwarded to police.
Tip411 shouldn’t be used to report an emergency, said police, reminding people to call 911.