A normal Sunday evening quickly turned chaotic after someone tossed firecrackers at Dadeland Mall serving as a distraction while a thief stole a pricey watch, police say.
The loud noise at around 6:33 p.m. was thought to be gunfire by many on Twitter and Facebook. Miami-Dade police confirmed — and reiterated — that there was indeed no gunfire.
"The incident caused shoppers to run from the immediate area, resulting in some minor injuries not related to the fireworks," said Miami-Dade police spokesman Argemis Colome in a news release. He noted that the mall, which neared it's 7 p.m. closing time, was not evacuated.
So what did happen?
Officials say an unidentified man — who was wearing a hat, black pants and a long-sleeved white shirt — walked into Mayors Jewelers and asked to see a "high-priced" wristwatch.
Once the employee handed it to him, another individual tossed firecrackers in the common area outside of the store, stirring up commotion.
The thief then fled, cops say.
"We want people to feel safe at the mall safe at the beach safe in public area," Colome said. "We are asking for the community's help in being extra vigilant. If you see something say something."
Though the mall never went on an official lock down, several stores went in to their emergency protocols. In that April 8 incident, 11 people in panic were injured trying to exit the mall.
The day before that, a fight at Dolphin Mall birthed rumors of a shooting and caused the mall to evacuate and go on lockdown. And in August, the shopping complex and the surrounding neighborhood turned into a chaotic mess when word began to spread that there was an active shooter on the premises.
"If anyone sees any suspicious activity immediately call 911 and leave the area as a precaution," Colome said.