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Rowdiness at Galleria results in 17 arrests Dozens escorted from movie theaters

Seventeen people were arrested and dozens more escorted from movie theaters Saturday night at Walden Galleria, where Cheektowaga police responded to several disturbance calls, police said Monday.

But the rowdiness wasn't confined to the movie theaters. Police Capt. John Glascott said a shoving match erupted in the main mall concourse among young people waiting in line to have their pictures taken at a photography studio.

Overall, the 17 arrested included eight juveniles -- some as young as 13, Glascott said. Three were girls.

Police weren't looking to make arrests, Glascott said. "These 17 kids . . . pretty much had to ask for it," he said.

Charges against the juveniles included criminal trespass, stemming from the mall's parental escort policy that anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by someone 21 or older, and resisting arrest.

Glascott said, "Those arrested teens were given several opportunities to leave the mall and refused, including one 15-year-old [girl] who told a Cheektowaga police sergeant, 'What are you going to do -- arrest me?' "

A mall security officer was punched in the face during one encounter, according to police.

Additional charges included disorderly conduct and harassment, and two of those arrested were wanted on bench warrants.

Trouble started brewing at the mall at about 7:30 p.m. and kept police busy until just after midnight, the captain said.

The later calls were about unruly behavior at and near the Regal Cinemas, which isn't governed by the mall's parental escort policy.

"They are allowed to be in that area, regardless of their age," Glascott said.

Approximately 40 people were escorted out of the theaters, Glascott said.

Some movie patrons got up and left, asking for their money back "because they couldn't enjoy the show because of the behavior of these kids," Glascott said.

Officers from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority helped out in the mall and near the bus stop outside.

Glascott said police met Monday morning with mall management to discuss the situation. "They're doing what they can," he said.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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