NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans police said they quickly arrested two 12-year-olds involved in an armed robbery in one of the city's most exclusive neighborhoods.
Some of the people who live in the Garden District said it's the latest in what seems like a growing number of incidents in an area where crime cameras are popping up in big numbers.
"It's very scary, because their brains aren't fully developed at that age," said one Garden District resident who didn't want to be identified.
Saturday around 8:45 p.m., a man and a woman were walking near the intersection of Chestnut and Philip. Police said a pair of boys walked up and asked for a dollar. When the victims refused, one of the boys pulled out a gun and forced the man to his knees.
"It's made me scared to death. I'm scared to go in my garden," said one resident.
Police said after the victim did what he was told, the boys ran off and were caught a short time later. Police spotted the juveniles nearby and said they matched the description given by the victims. They were then positively identified, much to the relief of neighbors.
"Our Garden District patrol is very apparent and I'm pleased with that," a resident said.
But the fact that 12-year-old boys would pull a gun and attempt a robbery is, to many, unsettling.
"I would say it's surprising. I can't say I would think 12-year-olds would be involved in such activities," said Rob Smith, a tourist in the neighborhood.
"It sounds like a story book. It doesn't seem real," said New Orleanian Catrina Newsham, who works nearby.
Even though many are surprised that 12-year-olds would be caught up in a crime like this, they say crime is not uncommon and many have put up cameras that have captured several incidents over the years.
"We installed nine, and we added to it because we want to see everywhere," said one resident.
The suspects will be charged as juveniles since by law prosecutors can't try anyone under the age of 13 as an adult. But many say parents should be held accountable, too.
"Oh of course, that's where it starts," said Newsham.
But legal experts said it's hard to charge adults with crimes committed by their children because generally, there has to be criminal intent.
"Of course I think they should be. I don't know how far you can go with that," said a resident.
In some cases, parents can be charged, but it's not known if that will be the case in this incident. At this point, police have not charged the parents with anything.