12-year-old with BB gun who stole a woman's phone charged with armed robbery, North Carolina police say
A 12-year-old boy in North Carolina who allegedly pointed a BB gun at a victim after stealing her phone has been charged with armed robbery, Charlotte police said Monday.
Officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded to a call about an armed robbery at an apartment complex near the 2100 block of Diamond Creek Circle at about 8 a.m. on Sunday.
A woman was walking in the parking lot when two young siblings, aged 6 and 12, approached her and asked to use her phone to call their mother, Captain Jason Helton of the Steele Creek division told reporters on Monday. Once they had her phone, they took off running.
The woman was chasing the children when the 12-year-old allegedly pulled a gun, pointed it at her and "tried to pistol whip her," Helton said.
The children then ran to a nearby apartment complex.
Detectives responded to the area and quickly found the mother of the siblings.
"She was cooperative and allowed officers into her home to search for the handgun believed to be used in the robbery," police said in the news release. "The weapon was located and was found to be a BB gun."
Helton showed reporters a picture of the BB gun, which looks nearly identical to real pistol.
"If you look at it really, really closely, does that look like a BB gun?" he said. "Let me paint a picture for you, what would happen if that thing would've been armed? We could've been dealing with something really, really tragic here. We could've been dealing with a 12-year-old who maybe lost their life, or even a 6-year-old."
The 12-year-old boy admitted to officers that he stole the victim's phone and pulled a gun on her. He is being charged with armed robbery and damage to property.
The 6-year-old is too young to face charges, according to police. Police did not provide any additional information on the 6-year-old, including gender.
Helton says officers are seeing minors commit crimes at an alarming rate.
"Our officers are dealing with juveniles every single day, property crimes, violent crimes. And when I say juveniles I mean kids, I mean ages 11, 12, 13, 14 years old, and it seems like they just keep getting younger and younger."
Helton encouraged parents to know where their children are and keep tabs on what they do, including what they post on social media.
"After looking at the investigation, this child had posed with a gun a couple of days prior on social media," he said.
The police department is continuing to investigate the incident and is asking anyone with information to come forward.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com