Starting young

Chico police said Wednesday they arrested a 14-year-old in connection with a string of gas station and convenience store robberies that have been occurring in Chico over the past few weeks. The youth, whose name was withheld, was charged with three counts of armed robbery for exploits at ABC Market, Frost Mini-mart and Spirits of America Texaco.

Chico police Sgt. Dave Barrow said the youth was being “relatively cooperative,” though he could not disclose what information he was sharing with investigators. The youth, described as a black male with a “lazy” eye, was already on probation for a previous crime. Police are still searching for the boy’s older accomplice, who they say carried a handgun while robbing at least three and possibly four stores along with his younger protàgà. That suspect is described as a bald black man, about 6’ 4”, 250 pounds.

Barrow noted that the average take of a robbery of this type is only about $200 to $500, but the pair in this case seems to have been encouraged by some early luck at the ABC Market, a robbery that netted more than $1,500. While Barrow said it was unusual to see such a young suspect involved in violent crime in this area, it is fast becoming a more common sight.

"We are getting to see more and more of that up here—the younger, hardened, brazen criminal." Barrow said, adding that the younger a criminal is, the higher the chance for a lethal incident is. "It’s pretty scary to have people of that age armed and doing crimes like that. They just don’t have the judgment an older person would."