The City 2 shopping mall on Rue Neuve in Brussels was evacuated on Friday after a 17-year-old shoplifter falsely claimed to be carrying a bomb.
The young man, who initially attempted to steal a T-shirt, incited mass panic when he shouted to passers-by that he was in possession of a bomb, while in the custody of a security guard.
The teenager, who was already known to police, freed himself of the guard’s control and fled to Rogier metro station before being apprehended by police. There were reports of panicked shoppers making a dash for the exits and two people were injured.
“The arrest of a thief has created a panic, but there were no gunshots or threat,” said Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur.
The two people injured during the hysteria were taken to hospital but did not require treatment, according to Brussels-Ixelles police spokesman Christian De Coninck.
Shortly after the ordeal, emergency services set up a medical post to provide support for those left particularly shaken. The medical post also served as a point at which children and parents that had been separated could meet.
The young suspect will go before the juvenile court for robbery with aggravating circumstances and incitement to riot.