The object has been troubled by rioters. The police say it did nothing to discourage potential looters since it occasionally took on the guise of a department store while resolutely resisting any attempt at breaking in. Any bricks or bottles thrown at it were returned along the reverse trajectory to the thrower; but later inspection revealed that the missiles had somehow been turned into soft foam replicas of themselves.
After an hour or so of fruitless mayhem the object suddenly gave off a bright burst of light and everyone in the vicinity stopped what they were doing, looked puzzled and then walked off, commenting that they were late for their dinner, or the dentist or some other imagined appointment.
Within a few minutes the area was deserted and quiet again with just foam bottles and bricks lying on the ground to testify to the incident.