NBC10Philadelphia.com - Claudia Rivero
A 13-year-old boy was taken into custody Wednesday morning, accused of robbing 5 people in less than 24 hours. The teen suspect and three of his friends were nabbed inside the Chestnut Deli on Ferragut Street, according to police. Three of the teens were later released, but one was still behind bars Wednesday night. Investigators say the 13-year-old acted alone on a crime spree Monday night into Tuesday afternoon, pointing a gun at his victims and demanding money. NBC10's Claudia Rivero talks to residents and police about the arrest.
A 13-year-old boy allegedly responsible for five separate attempted robberies in one day is now in custody, according to police.
The teen was wanted in connection with an incident on Monday night in which police say he approached a woman in Southwest Philadelphia, demanded "everything" she had on her and pulled out a gun upon her refusal.
The woman was able to run from the boy and call 911.
The other four attempted robberies took place Tuesday, according to investigators. Police tell NBC10 that a Daily News reporter and four women were approached by the gun-wielding boy.
NBC10's Deanna Durante spoke to one of the victims who said the boy caught up with her at a gas station. She says he asked her if he could pump her gas. When she said "no," she claims he tried to grab her purse. The victim told police that she screamed and the suspect bolted.
Investigators say all five attempts were in the area of 46th Street between Chestnut and Market Streets.
In four of the cases, investigators say the teen fled on a bike. Police say the suspect did not steal any cash or belongings in any of the incidents.
Police say tips about the suspect immediately began to pour in after NBC10 ran the story on Tuesday.
"We started getting nicknames," said Lieutenant John Walker of the Philadelphia Police. "We were able to develop that into a 13-year-old male who lives where the robberies were taken place."
Walker says the teen suspect was already on the run and wanted for a previous robbery.
On Wednesday, around 10:30 a.m., police say the 13-year-old and three other teens walked into the Chestnut Deli in Southwest Philadelphia. Officers arrested the group. Investigators say the other teens were not involved in any of the crimes and have since been released.
Investigators believe the teen was actually using a BB gun in the robberies though this has not yet been confirmed. Inivestigators served a search warrant at the teen's home for a weapon but have yet to find one.
"We have strong beliefs that the gun was a BB gun, not a real gun," said Lieutenant Walker. "But regardless, the victims were still in fear of their lives when this male did produce a gun in all five of these incidents."
"This is great that they caught the guy," said Arlene Harris of Southwest Philadelphia. "I was actually scared to go to work."
"13-years-old and robbing people? Where are his parents?" asked Frederick Harris. "His mother and father? This is a sad time."
Police say they have not yet located the teen's mother. The suspect is facing several charges, including armed robbery.