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Mike Terry, Deseret Morning News
Awake with excitement "Black Friday" shoppers pour into ShopKo on 3500 South and 4800 West in West Valley at no less than thirty seconds past the stores opening time of 5 a.m.

As thousands of shoppers stormed the stores early today for those doorbuster bargains, police officers have been on hand to make sure everyone behaves themselves.

"I've been avoiding this like the plague, and I let myself get roped into it this year," West Jordan Police Sgt. Clint Hodgkinson said as he stood watch outside a Sears store at Jordan Landing.

Many shoppers who get up in the pre-dawn hours to camp outside Wal-Marts, Targets, and other big box retailers have told stories of flying elbows and fists to get those deeply discounted holiday bargains.

"People yelling and screaming," Layton Police Sgt. Travis Homer said of the scene outside a Target store.

Officers were called there early today by a woman who claimed she was assaulted while trying to get into the store. Upon further investigation, officers didn't buy her claims.

"The story we got from the witnesses is she butted in line," Homer said. "She didn't want to wait in line like everybody else and she was asked to go to the end of the line."

The line snaked around the super-store, with people camping out overnight to make sure they were among the first in line.

Authorities were also watching out for shoplifters and car burglars hoping to score an even deeper discount at the stores. Layton police reported only a few purse thefts, but no more than any typical shopping day.

Hodgkinson said with the initial rush of shoppers passing, most people have been pretty well-behaved. He has spent his time watching the parking lots and shooing people away from parking in fire zones.

"I wrote a lady a quick citation for parking in a handicapped zone," he said.

Police caution people to be careful driving through shopping center parking lots with the increased traffic and pedestrians.

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