Teenage Spring Breakers causing problems in Panama City Beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — It seems as if teenage Spring Breakers from Georgia aren’t just causing problems in Walton County. Bay County law enforcement officials said they’ve seen a mob mentality in Panama City Beach this week.

On Tuesday night, Panama City Beach Police posted a photo on Facebook showing a large crowd on the sandy beach.

“They’ll start some chants, they’ll get into altercations with one another, which in turn is a problem for the normal beachgoers,” Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said. “The reality of what we’re seeing right now is just the blatant disregard for law and order by these teenagers.”

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Authorities are asking parents to stop letting minors wander around alone.

“Come pick them up or we will fill this police department up with kids and have a conveyor belt of parents coming in and out of here picking up their children after we charge them with a crime,” Talamantez said. 

“The parents are still responsible for the kids and there can be serious consequences for the behavior that the kids are getting involved in so we urge parents to know where their kids are, and keep control over their kids,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.

If there is a house party or large gathering at a vacation rental, law enforcement says they are not scared to evict people.

“We will contact the owner or the property manager, and they are more than happy to cancel that contract and we evict the tenants,” Ford said. “They’ve got nowhere to stay, they have to go back home.”

“If you’re a parent and you are renting an Airbnb or a vacation rental for the purpose of letting your children have 100% unrestricted access, to that you are making a mistake and you need to correct it immediately,” Talamantez said. 

Authorities said most of the problems are happening where crowds gather, like the beach area behind Pineapple Willy’s and at Pier Park. Heavy law enforcement presence in busy areas can be expected all week.

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“That’s what needs to happen to ensure that we change Spring Break, we change the Spring Break environment, this is not a free-for-all,” Talamantez said. 

Chief Talamantez said he’s been communicating with Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson. Adkinson shut down beach access after 7 p.m. to teenagers who aren’t accompanied by adults. They’ve also been dealing with crowd control issues.

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