ANDERSON — Police have two teenagers in custody suspected to be responsible for robbing another youth at gunpoint Saturday night.
On Sunday, Anderson Police Department spokesman Joel Sandefur said the 16- and 17-year-old suspects were still in custody and face preliminary charges of robbery and theft in connection with the incident.
According to Sandefur, the incident was reported about 8:30 p.m. A 15-year-old boy told police he arranged to meet the two other teens downtown at the Anderson Town Center park at 12th and Meridian streets. The three had been communicating via Facebook about selling an iPhone for cash.
When the three met at the downtown park, the 15-year-old pulled out some money and started counting it, and the 16-year-old allegedly snatched the money, about $50, out of the boy's hands. As the younger boy then attempted to leave, the 17-year-old noticed ear buds dangling out of the victim's backpack, and allegedly pulled out a handgun and robbed him at gunpoint.
The 15-year-old boy then ran to the nearby police station and reported the incident. Uniform officers immediately started searching the area, and with the help of a K-9 unit, quickly found the two suspects. One was found hiding in a large trash bin.
The two teenagers face juvenile charges, but other charges, like gun possession, could also be pending, Sandefur said.
Sandefur said the department is seeing more and more cases of victims being taken advantage of through online and social media methods. He said it's especially a problem for young and elderly people.
"Generally, it's not a good idea to just meet up with people you don't really know," Sandefur said. "We're seeing a lot of these crimes where social media is being used against an unknowing victim. That's the downside of social media. You don't really have a chance to know who you're dealing with when you buy and sell things online. There's that element of risk."
Sandefur said the parents also bear some of the responsibility.
"Eight-thirty isn't exactly a late time to be out, but it's dark, it's a Saturday, and you've got to call into question the parents' role," he said. "If they don't have a curfew, we can't do much about that because it's well within the city's curfew. You need to be a little more vigilant with your kids."
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