RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—Virginia Commonwealth University student Leonard Harsley walks to and from his job nearly every day.
He takes East Marshall street to get back to where he lives. He was floored Thursday afternoon to learn about a brazen robbery along his route just one day before.
What makes it so bizarre? According to Richmond police, an 11-year-old boy and two others were behind the crime.
The 11-year-old boy was arrested and found with a stolen cell phone that police say belonged to the victim.
That man was robbed Wednesday around 4:35 p.m. as he walked along East Marshall Street. Police say the young boy was with two others when they approached the victim from behind, shoved him into a wall and then snatched his cell phone.
“How do you get yourself at 11-years-old in with a crowd to want to go rob someone?” questioned Harley.
He called it “very bizarre, especially in broad daylight.”
Another man who walks that route routinely also tells CBS 6 News it’s upsetting to hear about this crime. “Yes, it is upsetting to know our children these days are out here doing things like this,” Andre Jackson said.
The 11-year-old boy didn’t get far. Police arrested him about a block or so away. Neighbors say it’s unsettling to them that this area of Jackson Ward has seen its share of crime in recent months. In July, 18-year-old Jett Higham, the son of a VCU professor, was walking to the store in that same block of East Marshall Street to get candy when he was robbed and fatally shot.
Eight months or so before that, another murder happened. Twenty-four year old Nathan Ratigan was shot and killed two blocks away from where Higham died.
People who work in that area say while it is upsetting, they don’t want the crime to overshadow the positive things they say they see in Jackson Ward.
Lucas Hall is among them.
“In the last few years we’ve seen a massive influx of renovated homes and more restaurants. It’s a really nice area,” Hall explained.
While the crime alert will keep them on their toes, neighbors and people who work in Jackson Ward say they won’t let it drive them away from a place they love.
“From my personal experience I was assaulted once and that was in Short Pump, said Hall. “I was robbed at gunpoint once- that was in Hanover.”
“I’ve never had anything happen here to me and I spend 80% of my time downtown,” he said. “ I think it’s a perception, but things happen everywhere.”
Richmond police say the alleged robbers didn’t flash a weapon and the victim wasn’t injured. Police are in the early stages of the investigation and the 11-year-old boy remains in custody at a juvenile detention center.
Investigators are still searching for the other two people they believe were involved.