Chambersburg Mall begins teen escort policy

March 07, 1998


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Sue Bricker was in Aladdin's Castle, the arcade at Chambersburg Mall Friday night with her 14-year-old son Matthew when she told him to stay, that she was going to the nearby Fashion Bug store to shop and that she would be back soon.

She got as far as the door of the arcade when a burly, uniformed security guard told her not to leave her son unattended.

Bricker, 39, was one of hundreds of people who bumped up against a new policy launched Friday that bans children under 16 from entering the 60-store on Friday and Saturday nights unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.


"Most of the time we come in together and go separate ways for an hour. He doesn't like to go to the stores that I go to," Bricker said.

Mall Manager Ron Formosa said Chambersburg is the first mall in the 25-store Crown American mall chain, including stores in Martinsburg, W.Va., Frederick, Md., and Hagerstown to put the policy in effect.

Formosa said the mall did a six-year study on teen activity and found that disruptive behavior and rowdyism was on the rise. He said the mall had to keep increasing the size of its security force to control the youngsters. Borough police with a K-9 dog began to patrol the mall on Friday and Saturday nights in 1993.

"There was fighting, profanity and running. People were being knocked down," Formosa said.

He said about a dozen malls across the country have adopted the policy and all report increased sales on Friday and Saturday nights.

Formosa said all merchants in the mall support the policy.

Pat Sherman, manager of Aladdin's Castle, said while Friday night while busy, it was quiet.

"Hang out. That's a perfect word for it," Sherman said of the teenagers who came into his arcade in droves. "There was always a lot of kids in here, but all they did was hang out. They never bought anything. It was hard to keep an eye on that many."

Andrea Evangelista and her boyfriend, Josh Henry, both 17, were standing in line at the mall cinema waiting to see "Titanic."

"I don't think it's a good idea," Evangelista said. "All the kids will go somewhere else."

Formosa said parents of children under 16 will no longer be able to drop their children off at the theater by themselves and pick them up when the movie is over.

Theater officials declined to comment.

Jason Guillet, 13, said children should come in the mall with their parents then be allowed to go where they want by themselves.

His mother, Barbara Guillett, 36, of Chambersburg, likes the policy.

"It's a good idea. Children are not as well mannered as they were when I was young."

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