FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, IL (KVI) - Three Illinois teens are in custody for threatening a mother and child with a gun, then stealing their car. It turns out the gun was fake, but to police, that doesn’t make a difference.
On Tuesday night around 9 o’clock, a 38 year-old woman and her son were getting into their car at the Dollar General on Lincoln Trail in Fairview Heights, when they were approached by the three young men. They were armed and demanded money.
Lt. Michael Hoguet with the Fairview Heights Police Department says, “She had mentioned she had a child in her car, and the other juvenile said, get your child out, so she reached in, she was able to get her seven year-old son out of the vehicle, and as soon as she did that, they hopped in the vehicle and fled westbound on Lincoln Trail.”
Witnesses called 911, and a police pursuit quickly began. Two of the teens are 15, one is 13. None had a drivers’ license, or even a permit. Finally, they crashed the stolen car into a ditch in Washington Park. The three teenagers ran.
Police quickly found one suspect with the help of a K9. “A few minutes later, two other suspects walked out from behind a house, basically right into the arms of assisting officers,” Hoguet explains.
All three were in custody within an hour of the carjacking. Hoguet hopes they’re punished to the full extent of the law, even though they’re minors, and even though their three guns were Airsofts: bb’s designed to look like real guns. He explains, “It does not matter whether the guns were fake or not. They are in serious trouble with us as a police department, and we will pursue the best charges we can to make sure that they understand that they cannot do this anymore.”
Several customers at that Dollar General agree that these kids shouldn’t be cut any slack. Carol Clark says, “No, I wouldn’t. I teach my grandsons to not play guns, and I don’t buy them. It’s a sign of, it’s ok to play with a gun, and a four year-old, if he doesn’t know the difference, then he would think a real gun is ok to play with, also.”
Another customer adds, “How are you supposed to know? I mean it’s a gun. You’re not going to go, let me see, is that real? It’s not a joke.”
But for police, the most shocking part of this carjacking wasn’t the fake guns. “I am more surprised with the 13 year-old,” says Hoguet, “that is really an odd occurrence of someone that young to do a crime like this.”
Right now, all three teens are being held in the St. Clair County Juvenile Detention Facility. Police say they’re likely to be charged Wednesday with Aggravated Vehicular Carjacking, along with Armed Robbery. One of these 15 year-olds was actually supposed to be on home confinement after crimes police say he committed in October.