Three juveniles, ranging in age from 13 to 15, are alleged to have displayed a .357 Magnum revolver in a late-night carjacking attempt.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 19, 2023
A trio of Camden County teenagers aged 15 and younger has been charged in an armed carjacking incident at a Cherry Hill Walmart Monday evening.
The suspects, a 13- and a 15-year-old from Camden City, and a 14-year-old from Pennsauken, all are being held at the Camden County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of Carjacking, Conspiracy, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and Possession of a Firearm by a Minor.
Cherry Hill Police responded to a Walmart parking lot in the 500 block of Route 38 at 11:21 p.m. on April 17 for a report of an attempted carjacking.
There, they made contact with a woman who reported that three people had “quickly approached her vehicle, and opened her driver’s door while she was seated inside,” according to a statement issued by Cherry Hill Lt. Thomas Leone.
“They demanded she exit the vehicle, and one of the males displayed a handgun in his waistband,” Leone wrote.
The driver pulled away from the scene and called police, who found and arrested the three suspects near the rear of the shopping center, according to Leone’s statement.
Cherry Hill K-9 Chase and Officer Dan Patton subsequently located a black Taurus .357 Magnum at the scene, according to Cherry Hill Police Chief Robert Kempf, who reported that the firearm was not loaded.
Nonetheless, Kempf said that the case is not typical for Cherry Hill.
“This type of teen criminal element is not usual for us,” the chief said. “Our typical encounter with a juvenile is maybe they’re hanging out in the park a little too late, or something happened after school.
“It’s definitely concerning that they’re not home at 11:21 on a Monday night, especially a 13-, 14-year-old; even a 15-year-old,” he said.
“I don’t know which one of them brandished it, but none of them should have had access to a firearm.”
Kempf said the driver’s quick call to police made “all the difference in the world” in locating the suspects and the weapon involved. He urged shopping center patrons to be aware of their surroundings at all times, and ask for an escort to their vehicles if they feel unsafe.
As for the issue of armed juveniles allegedly engaging in violent behavior, Kempf chalked it up to “failure to hold some of our juveniles accountable, and not just from a criminal justice perspective.
“We have to engage with the parents; provide some recreation for these kids,” the chief said. “We’ve got to figure out how to get these kids involved in something on a larger scale; give them positive role models.”
All persons charged with crimes are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. An arrest is not a conviction.
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