DICKSON CITY -- It's a craze across the country and now it's happening in our area but police say it's no joke and some teens are facing the consequences in Lackawanna County.
There's been a lot of buzz about the video that's all over social media called "gallon smashing." Police say the prank videos have become very popular in our area but for some gallon-smashers in Lackawanna County, it's social media that's now getting them in trouble.
"Gallon smashing" basically entails someone pretending to fall and spilling gallons of milk or juice all over an aisle of a place like Target. But, when stores in Dickson City started seeing the videos made here, they called police and the police turned to social media to catch those making the mess.
Example of "gallon smashing" videos popular on YouTube:
(this is not video of the suspected gallon smashers in Dickson City)
Typically, when we show you surveillance pictures from a big-box store like Target or Wegmans, we show you skilled thieves after a heist. But, this time, we're showing you mostly kids seemingly having a good time. Police say these people are among more than a dozen who are accused of trying to make gallon-smashing prank videos that have recently made it big on the internet.
"It started to hit the mainstream media and once it did that, people got the idea, 'let's try it'. And people don't realize the consequences of their actions," said Dickson City Police Chief William Bilinski.
The chief started getting calls from Target and Wegmans in the borough about a gallon-smashing problem and he took the problem to the police department's Facebook page.
So, in their attempt to make a splash on the internet, the gallon-smashers got caught via the internet.
"There are videos in almost all of these stores, so if we can obtain the video and get your picture, we'll gladly post it on the internet."
Gallon-smashing started as a trend on YouTube, but as soon as it hit the national media, that's when store owners say they started seeing it in local dairy aisles.
"It's all fun and well to them and it's a good joke, and they make sure they have someone taping it so they can show it on YouTube, but it creates a big spill in the store," said Wegmans manager A.J. Kuczinski.
Not to mention a big risk that someone could slip and get hurt. That's why managers at Wegmans are happy to see police taking the joke seriously.
Thanks to the Facebook posts, nearly all of the accused gallon-smashers in Dickson City have been identified or turned themselves in and are facing consequences.
"I just think it's annoying and disrespectful because you're destroying property, and it's such a pain to clean up," said Kara Dakunchak of Scranton.
The police chief in Dickson City says many of the accused gallon-smashers called them after finding themselves on Facebook in the surveillance pictures. Police say the stores have opted not the charge those people but have asked to pay for the spilled milk.