Kids suspected in mini-mart holdup

April 17, 2009 1:27:50 PM PDT
Family members and police are very disturbed about an attempted robbery they say involved 8 and 10-year-old boys in Oakland. They are accused of using a BB gun to demand money and candy at a small store. Police say it happened at the corner of 98th and International Boulevard. No one was hurt in this situation.

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"It's very tragic to me to know that our inner youth are coming out at that age and robbing people like that," said Oakland resident Donnelle Jefferson.

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"I think it has a lot to do with the role models and the environment that they like to hang around," said Oakland resident Sheena Edwards.

Oakland residents are shocked to hear that two young boys tried to rob an Arco gas station using a BB gun. Police say around 7:00 p.m. Thursday night, the 8 and 10-year-olds walked into the station store at 98th Ave and International Boulevard with a purpose.

"They went up to the register after taking some candy, said they didn't have any money, hinted to the fact that there was money in the register and showed the cashier the BB gun," said Jeff Thomason with Oakland Police.

The cashier didn't give the kids any money, but was definitely worried about his safety.

"The BB obviously looks like a regular gun. The cashier didn't know the difference and thought it was a real gun. He feared for his life and called police," said Thomason.

The two boys stuck around so police saw them when they arrived on the scene. Officers arrested them after searching and finding stolen candy and the BB gun. While the BB gun is not considered a firearm, and is not illegal to have, the act of attempting a robbery and using that BB gun to pressure through fear is illegal.

Police released the boys to their parents who will later have to take them to a court appearance. It's a case that has people shaking their heads and reaffirming the need for adults to closely guide their children.

"It says a lot about the city that we need, you know, like I said before, just really as men, as adults, just really step our game up and help these youth and help ourselves, so the world won't be like this," said Jefferson.

Police will review surveillance video of the incident after they receive from Arco's headquarters.

Oakland police do consider this a serious crime and will treat it that way. The boys' parents were given a notice to appear at a later court date. Police say those boys were not sent to juvenile hall since they had no prior offenses.

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