14-year-olds accused in armed robbery

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - Sandy Springs police have arrested two 14-year-old boys on charges they robbed an elderly man at gunpoint Monday.

Police said the teens drove up to a Weatherly Drive home just after noon and asked the homeowner for gas money. When he refused, police said one of the teens pulled out a gun and demanded cash.

“He said he would go inside, he’d get them money. They wanted to go in with him and he said, ‘No,’” Capt. Steve Rose told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik.

Rose said the man gave the teens $20 and they drove to a gas station on Powers Ferry Road and Interstate 285 to fill up.  An officer nearby spotted the car and chased the teens, who ran across the interstate before being arrested.

Police said the boys had walked away from a state-run program for troubled teens called Warm Springs Outdoor Therapy, which is operated by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

“They were in that program (and) apparently absconded,” said Rose.

Rose said the teens stole a car in Pine Mountain, then drove north to Atlanta and it appears they randomly chose their target.  The teens are now being held in the Youth Detention Center, Rose said.

Petchenik called the Warm Springs facility to find out why the teens were able to walk away so easily, but the person who answered the phone referred him to a spokesman for the state agency.  Petchenik sent several e-mails and left two voicemails for the spokesman, but as of Tuesday afternoon, no one had gotten back to him.

Off-camera, the victim told Petchenik he would like to know why the teens were able to walk away.  Neighbors told Petchenik they had similar questions.

“I’m in my yard a good bit and certainly don’t want to be approached by bands of marauding teenagers with a gun,” said Lynn Warren.