Video: Lottery hoax sparks riot at Ohio coat store

  1. Closed captioning of: Lottery hoax sparks riot at Ohio coat store

    >> you can't use. this is a great story out of columbus, ohio. this woman pulls up to a burlington coat factory . by the way, no finer place to buy a discount coat. incredible selectiveness. she pulls up to a burlington coat factory in a huge stretch hummer limousine. runs inside, i just won the lottery. all the coats are on me. take whatever you want . i'm buying. wasn't that really thoughtful? what happens is there's like a stampede.

    >> that 's wonderful . like oprah.

    >> everyone is grabbing what they can get their hands on, bring them up to the register. turns out the police heard about the riot. they came in, and the woman said, i was just kidding. i didn't win the lottery. i just wanted to see if i could stir it up a little bit by pulling up to a coat factory in my stretch hummer limousine. she's been detained.

    >> why?

    >> she just wanted to have some fun. life is hard. you've got to have fun sometimes.

    >> twisted sense of humor. it happens.

    >>> you know " 30 rock " is back tonight.

    >> i love it.

    >> the premiere with tina fey , alec baldwin . she was on letterman last night. you think tina fey . she's cool. she's funny. she has everything going for her. you would think that growing up, that she had an easy time with the fellas. who wouldn't like tina fey ?

    >> everybody loves tina fey .

    >> turns out it took her a while to, shall we say, find love.

    >> virgins into their 20s. it says here that various --

    >> old virgins.

    >> it says here that you, tina fey , 20 --

    >> we don't have to read that.

    >> 24.

    >> there's nothing wrong with that, is there?

    >> no.

    >> and --

    >> couldn't give it away. couldn't give it away.

    >> that's just good christian values .

    >> yes, that's right. i don't know why people are --

    >> or being homely.

    >> she says she was homely.

    >> or not going to work for dave.

    >> oh, my.

    >> good christian values , being homely, or if you're me, a little bit of both.

    >> it was a little bit of both. " 30 rock " tonight. tina fey is the best.

    >> we've got to mention this. cal tan lou albano , one of the great figures in the history of wrestling, died yesterday at the age of 76. you'll remember him for wearing rubber bands in his beard. one of the great managers and wrestlers. really one of the best trash talkers we've ever had in wrestling. you might remember him when he made his big crossover move with cyndi up lauper in this video. *

    >> captain lou albano , a good man, dead at the age of 76.

    >> let's just file that one under the awful grace of god , drip by drip.

    >> i don't know what to say, willie.

    >> i love captain lou . that's what i will say. his brother, carl albano, was my driver's ed teacher in high school . everyone wanted to get in the class because they thought somehow you would meet captain lou .

updated 10/14/2009 9:42:17 PM ET 2009-10-15T01:42:17

A woman being driven around in a rented limousine pulled up at a coat store and announced she'd won the lottery and would pay for everyone's purchases, police said, but she ended up causing a riot when customers realized it was a hoax.

Angry customers threw merchandise around and looted, leaving the store looking as though a hurricane had passed through it, police said.

Linda Brown was arrested Tuesday after an hours-long shopping spree that began when she hired a stretch Hummer limousine to drop her off at a Burlington Coat Factory store, police Sgt. Lt. Michael Deakins said. Brown walked to a cash register and loudly announced she had won the lottery and would pay for each person's merchandise up to $500, he said.

"Well, of course, people like to hear that," Deakins said. "Apparently they were in line calling relatives who were not at the store and told them to come."

People flooded the registers as cashiers began ringing up purchase after purchase, but Brown had not yet paid the bill, Deakins said. At least 500 people filled the aisles and another 1,000 were outside trying to get in, he said.

"She was telling people she won $1.5 million," Deakins said. "But it ends up she didn't win anything. She had no money to pay for anything."

About an hour later, Brown had the limousine driver take her to a bank to withdraw money, but she returned empty-handed, police Detective Steven Nace said. By then, store employees had called in two dozen police officers to handle the crowds.

Shopper Candace Jordan said she told Brown she didn't need clothes, she needed help paying her rent.

"And she said, 'How much is it?'" Jordan told WBNS-TV. "And she promptly wrote out a check."

By the time employees realized Brown didn't have any cash to pay, police said, she already had taken off in the limo.

That's when angry customers, realizing they weren't getting free coats, began throwing merchandise on the floor and grabbing clothes without paying for them, Nace said.

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"Everybody was like, 'I still want my free stuff,' and that started the riot," he said. "It looks like (Hurricane) Katrina went through the store."

Police said they have no way of tracking down the customers who stole items and fled, but they're reviewing surveillance video.

When the limousine driver realized he wasn't going to be paid the $900 Brown owed him for the day's rental, he turned her in to police, Deakins said.

Brown, 44, was arrested on three outstanding warrants for aggravated menacing, misuse of a 911 system and causing false alarms. She was jailed late Wednesday, but no charges had been filed against her related to the coat store chaos pending a mental health evaluation.

Police said they didn't know if Brown had a lawyer. No telephone number was listed under her name, and no one answered repeated phone calls at the Franklin County Jail.

A spokeswoman for Burlington Coat Factory, which is based in Burlington, N.J., and has more than 300 stores across the country, said late Wednesday she couldn't comment on the incident.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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