Four more children, ranging in age from 11 to 15 years old, have been arrested in connection to a robbery at the Atlantic City Boardwalk that resulted in a store owner collapsing and dying last month after one child pulled a knife on him.
The arrests include an 11-year-old girl, two 14-year-old girls and a 15-year-old girl, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday in a press release. They are also implicated in what prosecutors called “additional criminal acts” prior to the robbery at 66-year-old Mahmood Ansari’s store.
The eldest girl is charged with second-degree robbery, theft, shoplifting and second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery; one 14-year-old is charged with second-degree robbery, fourth-degree criminal mischief, shoplifting and second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery; the other 14-year-old is charged with second-degree robbery, theft and second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery; and the 11-year-old is charged with second-degree robbery, theft, shoplifting and second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery.
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A 12-year-old boy – accused of pulling the knife on Ansari – and another 14-year-old girl were arrested when officers responded on April 4, the night of the robbery. Prosecutors say Ansari collapsed and stopped breathing shortly after officers arrived. A bystander attempted CPR, but Ansari was later declared dead at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.
In the press release, Atlantic City Police Interim Officer in Charge James Sarkos called a “top priority” for his department.
“We know that this investigation is very important to our community. Our detectives have diligently and expeditiously worked with our partners from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office to hold each individual accountable who were involved in these crimes,” he said.
Ansari’s death sparked an outcry from other Atlantic City Boardwalk store owners, who said he was well-liked and that it was not uncommon for groups of kids to go into stores and steal items.
“If we don’t fix this, tourists are not going to come to this city,” business owner Amer Kashmiri told NBC10.
Officials, including Sarkos and Mayor Marty Small vowed more police patrols in the area to keep stores safe.