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Police: Knife-wielding robber is a 14-year-old boy

10:22 AM, Apr 5, 2013   |    comments
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DULUTH, Ga. -- One day after police released video surveillance of a knife-wielding robber inside a Duluth clothing store, an arrest has been made.

Gwinnett County Police arrested a 14-year-old middle school student and charged him with robbery, aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

"It's something you would think somebody would start at a smaller crime and lead up to this," said Det. Collin Flynn. "He had no prior history with us and he had no real issues with the school either."

Because of his age, 11Alive News will not identify the suspect, who is a student at Duluth Middle School. That's where detectives arrested him Thursday morning.

"He was asked to come to the front office by the principal and once he arrived at the office he was placed under arrest without any problems," Det. Flynn said.

Police said the suspect tried to rob the Fresh 2Def clothing store on Pleasant Hill Road across from Gwinnett Place Mall. When police searched his parents' home, they found the knife they believe was used in the attack.

They also found the shirt the suspect wore during the robbery. Store owner Michelle Coffey said the "Obey" brand T-shirt was purchased at her store.

"I was saddened," Coffey added. "I was upset that someone that young could be at such an aggressive level at such a young age."

Flynn said the boy wasn't surprised when he was arrested because other kids in school were asking him about the robbery.

"I guess they had seen it on the news and they had come up to him asking him if he really was the person that robbed the store," Flynn said. "He told me that he openly admitted to those kids that he had been the one that was robbing the store."

Det. Flynn said the suspect told him he tried to rob the store for clothing and money, but he came away with nothing. He also accidentally cut himself during the robbery.

"He saw the blood was running down his arm and he became concerned that he was going to leave his DNA behind so he let go of the victim and ran from the store," Flynn said.

The case will be handled in juvenile court leaving store owner Coffey to wonder how long before he's back on the street, and whether the arrest will change him.

"I just think hopefully he can turn around from this situation, but he's not someone I would like to see again," she said.

As disheartening as it was to Coffey to find out the suspect was only 14, she said it was heartening to learn that it was a 14-year-old schoolmate who came forward to police.

"Someone the same age was courageous enough to tell us this is the kid that did it," she said.

Kevin Rowson, WXIA

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