Five Charlotte teenagers are now charged with comitting a violent daylight felony this past Thursday, but you will likely never know who they are thanks to a new North Carolina law that treats 16 and 17 year old thugs as juveniles.
Five teenagers face robbery charges after police say they stole a car at a west Charlotte gas station.
It happened Thursday at a Circle K on Old Little Rock Road.
Police say one of the teens flashed a gun at the owner of the car when he came out to try to stop them. The car’s owner left his keys in the ignition and an AK-47 in the vehicle, according to police.
Terry Jackson works at the barber shop across the street and says he saw the exchange.
“Pow, pow, pow. I look, see a guy chasing a vehicle. I really didn’t know what was going on. And like it was like cause it’s the intersection right here and he was like trying to gun them down," said Jackson.
The scare for Jackson was similar to what other people felt in businesses close by.
“You’re in here doing laundry then shots fired is scary. Yeah, 'cause bullets don’t have any eyes they can go here and there," said Sandra Rann, a customer at the Laundromat across the street.
“Bullets have no names. Go wherever they go," said one business owner across the street. “It’s not something that you expect. It’s not something that you will necessarily want around here, especially when you have like all these businesses and you have people walking around here driving through here all the time you know.”
Jackson says he saw bullets come from the person whose car was stolen and the teens.
“I heard about three, four gunshots. So when I kind of like glanced to the right, I seen a young man chasing a car out here on Little Rock Road. And he was firing behind the car like, I want to say five, six shots after," said Jackson.
“It’s very sad, you know that that’s our youth doing that," said Rann. “I’m scared of guns. So, but I’m told you can get them anywhere. You know, they are for protection, but the people are not protected.”
Police brought out helicopters and multiple patrol units to find the stolen car.
“Wow, they playing chicken with they life. Dangerous. Danger," said Jackson. “These kids need to quit playing, being dangerous with the lives and doing unpredictable stuff that may get them in jail, dead, it’s serious out here.”
Less than three hours after the carjacking, police stopped a Mercury Mountaineer at the intersection of Freedom Drive and Thrift Road and detained all occupants of the vehicle.
Police later recovered the Chevrolet Impala.
Police charged the boys -- two 15-year-olds, two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old -- with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of felony larceny. One of the 16-year-olds was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a handgun by a minor.
The 16 and 17 year olds were charged as juveniles following the state’s “Raise the Age” legislation that went into place in late 2019. The 15 year olds are also being charged as a juvenile.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 911. The public can also leave anonymous information by contacting Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
This remains an active investigation.
Cedar's Take: The reporting by WBTV's weekend staff is a little hard to follow but the bottom line is there will be no mug shots and no release of the suspect's names.