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Fifteen deputies needed to calm shoe-seekers

Shoppers toppled a gate at a just-opening store in their quest for the newest pair of Michael Jordans.


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 4, 2001

TAMPA -- Sheriff's deputies had to quell a mob of frantic shoppers at University Square Mall on Saturday after stores started running out of a new version of Michael Jordan athletic shoes.

Foot Action, which opened at 9:30 a.m., apparently was the first to run out of the $125 shoes. By 10 a.m., that store had been emptied of the gray-and-white sneakers, so about 250 shoppers stormed across the mall into Champs Sports, said Sheriff's Lt. Harold Winsett.

Someone called deputies after customers knocked down an entrance gate to get into the store, which was just opening.

It took 15 deputies to regain control of the store, said Winsett. After that, only three customers at a time were allowed inside. The store sold all 60 pairs and then closed for the rest of the day.

At Foot Locker, shift manager Kourtney Rosenburg said that store sold its dozen pairs of the new shoe in 15 minutes. "We only let one person in at a time. Our store was the calmest of all," she said.

Nike comes out with a new Jordan shoe several times a year and limits sales through retail stores to one day, the day of their release, Rosenburg said.

Winsett said nobody was arrested or injured.

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