Niagara County sheriff’s deputies have made the region’s first arrest in a “milk smashing” case, charging a high school senior in a prank at a Tops Markets in Newfane after he was recognized by store employees and he bragged about his actions on Facebook.
The 18-year-old Burt resident was picked up by deputies this morning at Newfane High School and arraigned in Newfane Town Court on a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief in the incident, which took place Monday at the Tops on Lockport-Olcott Road, said sheriff’s Capt. Greg Schuey.
This incident, caught on a store surveillance camera, is one of at least 10 “milk smashings” that have taken place in the last week in this area, as the online prank of the moment made its way to Western New York.
In “milk smashing” or “gallon smashing,” young people at supermarkets grab plastic gallon jugs of milk or juice and then throw them in the air or smash them to the floor while pretending to fall or slide to the floor as the liquid pools around them.
The scene, of course, is recorded by an accomplice with a smartphone and later posted to YouTube or social media sites.
Counting the Niagara County incident, “milk smashing” copycats have pulled off the decidedly unfunny prank at least 10 times at stores in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania – seven at Tops stores and three at Wegmans stores.
Store security reported the Newfane “milk smashing” to sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday and showed investigators footage from the in-store video system that clearly showed a young man smashing the milk containers on the floor at about 6:40 p.m. Monday.
Employees were able to identify the suspect. He also posted video of the incident on his Facebook page, and Deputy Justin Birmingham, the school resource officer at Newfane High School, heard teens discussing the prank and passed this information along to Deputy Shannan Rodgers, Schuey said.
The News isn’t naming the teen, who is accused of causing about $8 in damages. The Sheriff’s Office does not plan to charge the person who recorded the incident on video, Schuey said.
Also, the Lancaster Police Detective Bureau has released photos pulled from the surveillance cameras at the Tops Markets at 4777 Transit Road of people wanted for questioning in a “milk smashing” incident at that store early Sunday morning.
Anyone who can identify one of the people in the photos is asked to contact the bureau at 683-3120, ext. 24, or by email at email@example.com.
Representatives of Tops and Wegmans told The News earlier this week that store employees are warned to be on the lookout for would-be “milk smashing” pranksters and they said they would prosecute anyone they catch in the act.
“It’s a prank. However, we don’t find it to be amusing,” said Shaun Frank, asset protection manager for Wegmans in Buffalo. “We consider it a crime.”
This latest bizarre food-related prank has been imitated across the nation on YouTube. A number of supermarkets have seen the trend locally and store security, managers and cashiers have been alerted.