Evanston police have charged a 13-year-old Evanston youth in connection with two robberies this week — including one in which a cab driver was threatened with a gun.

Police say the youth was positively identified by the victims in each of the incidents.

The cab drivver was held up at about 1:10 a.m. Wednesday by a robber who grabbed him around the neck and threatened him with a gun. The robber took $200 in cash and a cell phone.

Earlier, at about 2:30 p.m. Monday, police say the same youth punched another juvenile in the face at Church Street and Dodge Avenue and stole his “Beats” headphones.

The suspect is now charged with two counts of robbery and aggravated assault and has been remanded to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Throw the book at him

    These are most likely not the first crimes he has committed. Let him be tired as an adult and be sent to a state prison.

  2. 1am???

    Who in their right mind allows their child to be out at 1am????? Perhaps the parents did not know, but for about $20 you can buy a door/window alarm at HomeDepot and if they try to sneak out, you will hear it.

    The parents should be investigated, especially if this is not the first time this CHILD has done this. 13 years old is a middle schooler!! That is simply insane!! What's next, hold up their teachers at gunpoint and steal their laptop???

    Evanston needs to provide more services and programs for children in the summer. We need to keep them off the streets, get them involved with something other than violence and drugs…..this story just broke my hear!!!!

  3. This child needs help, not a prison sentence

    The previous two comments are offensive and not representative of the usual comments posted on Evanston Now.  I would hope that, given the comments describe the fate of a thirteen year old child, Evanston Now would remove them from the comments section.  

    1. agreed

      Articles like this one are a tough wake up call to our schools and community.   When 13 year olds are committing violent crimes like this, the finger should go nowhere other than family, schools, and community for failing to inspire the child for higher life aspirations.  No hope for the future and lack of alternatives leads people to crime.  

      I agree with the commenter above- This is a child. IF you put a child in jail, you will create a life-long criminal.  This child and family need support.  Our schools need to analyze what they are doing, and how they are failing to create hope for the future.     Our community needs to analzye priorities and figure out a way to support/curb this type of behavior in children (summer programs for low income kids?  Work opportunities for high schoolers?) 

       Who are any of us to throw a book at children?!


    2. Nanny

      It appears that people like you are part of this kid's problem. Maybe you can share a cell with this kid so that you can coddle him to end his crime spree. You have the same progressive attitude that creates kids like this. If kids like this are not punished they will continue to get worse. Perhaps you would like to take the fall for him when he shoots somebody?

      The nanny state has run amok in this town, state, and country.

      1. All aboard the tea-party express!

        Ah, yes. The blame game. Nice card to play! Simply blame it on your ideological counter-part, that solves the problem. On trying him as an adult: You do not know if this is his first or second offense and he didn't murder or rape anyone. He's a robber, not a serial killer. Sending him to adult prison would, as another commenter said, create a lifelong criminal. He's 13, he belongs in a juvinile system with a focus on rehabilitation. What an assinine and ridiculous proposal by you, you should be ashamed of yourself. Your comment lacks empathy and basic common-sense. This is coming from a police-officer in training. I suggest moving to Texas or Florida(Or hell, even closer: Indiana or Kentucky) if the state of Illinois is too progressive for you.

        1. Charges

          He has been charged with 2 violent crimes, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. I'm not sure how this is done since the gun he used turned out to be a fake gun but it sure scared the H out of the taxi driver. Also the mother of this boy would not cooperate with police when they came to the door. They had to return with a search warrant.

      2. nanny nonsense

        "The nanny state has run amok in this town, state, and country."

        Actualy, the United States has more people imprisoned  – and per capita, not just abolutely – than any other western country…and it is by a wide margin.

        Yes, violent criminals should be kept off the streets.  But putting a 13-year old in the prison system for life will have costs – and that means less money for police, hospitals, and schools. 

        We have to assume that these people will  get out of prison someday – and then what will happen?  Will there be available jobs?  Will prison prepare these people for return to society?



  4. Two baseball mitts and a baseball.

    Stricter Parenting ,also programs and summer jobs for the kids.A good start might be buying two baseball mitts and a baseball, and play catch with your kid.

  5. Make public the names

    The names of even children need to be made public and the charges stay on their permanent record.  No more releasing them at 21. 

    They learn that they can do pretty much whatever they want and no one will know about their crime and even if caught do gooders will want to blame everyone but them.  Older kids and adults know these younger kids won't get the same penalty so they use them to committ the crimes.

    Also make the parents financially responsible for the thefts, damage and effects of the crimes on the victums—i.e. civil and criminal.

  6. Children are not adults

    Just this week, the United States Supreme Court explained why children must be treated differently from adults. The Supreme Court ruled that even children who commit murder cannot get mandatory life in prison. As the Court stated, research supports what every parent knows.

    First, "children have a ‘lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility,’ leading to recklessness, impulsivity, and heedless risk-taking."

    Second, "children 'are more vulner­able . . . to negative influences and outside pressures,' including from their family and peers; they have limited 'contro[l] over their own environment' and lack the ability to extricate themselves from horrific, crime-producing settings."

    Third, "a child’s character is not as 'well formed' as an adult’s; his traits are 'less fixed' and his actions less likely to be 'evidence of irretrievabl[e] deprav[ity].'"

    The Illinois juvenile system has teachers, psychologists, and numerous others who devote their lives to kids. Many of these children — and they are children — complete their sentences and never get in legal trouble again. Sending them to adult prison is sending them to crime school.

    Michael Orenstein

    1. He is no longer acting as a child acts

      This person is 13 years old.  He should be in middle school, probably going into the 8th grade.

      This summer, middle school students are hanging out with friends in the park (maybe kicking a soccer ball or playing hoops), going to the beach, spending time in summer camp, watching TV, doing problems in a math workbook to get ready for the next school year that starts in two months, going to the library, seeing a free concert, practicing their musical instruments, selling lemonade in front of their houses, having lunch with friends, etc.

      (And please don't tell me that some middle school students don't have these opportunities.  City of Evanston recreation centers offer free lunches to all, there are free and reduced rates for City of Evanston and park district camps and, as I recall, City of Evanston recreation centers will check out sports balls at no cost.  Workbooks are available at Target for very little cost. Musical instruments are available for rent at no cost from the middle school and kids who play them can keep those instruments at no cost during the summer, too.) 

      But this kid is pursuing other activities.  He comes up with a plan to rob someone at gunpoint and then he acts on that plan.  This wasn't a sudden impulse — this was a plan with a deadly weapon. 

      He gets a gun at age 13.  He is awake at 1 a.m.  He gets to a CTA station at 1 a.m.  He gets into a cab with a concealed weapon.  He puts his hands on the neck of the cab driver.  He displays his gun to the poor cab driver (who is working at 1 a.m. trying to support himself and possibly his family).  He takes $200.00 from someone without earning it.

      None of this is normal behavior for a 13 year old. And it is behavior that our society needs to stop now.

      This kid's living environmental has not produced someone who has a high likelihood of being a productive, law-abiding member of society.  Strong and stern action is needed to (1) change his living situation and (2) inform this 13 year old that society will not accept his behavior.  The current system appears ill-equipped to do either.

      Juvenile detention is the only option at this point to change his living situation.  The suggestion of military school is a good one but does Illinois sent juveniles to boot camp?  If so, this kid is a good candidate based on the information available.

      I am not interested in blaming anyone for this kid's anti-social and violent behavior.  Blame doesn't address the problem. 

      Instead, I recognize that his living environment produced this result.  And I recognize that at age 13, he has acted in a way that indicates strongly that he will not be an asset to this society.  Change the kid's living environment now and see if his behavior and attitude toward the world can be changed.

  7. Send him to military school

    In some states parents may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    These parent(s) could be arrested and charged with criminal liability, pay the court costs, reimburse the state for the costs associated with the care, support, detention, or treatment of their children while under the supervision of state agencies or require parents to undertake RESTITUTION payments. It is my understanding Illinois does NOT have any of these remedies.

    Maybe charging this violent offender in adult court might not be the best solution, who knows. But if those here advocate that more of the overabundance of youth services and government intervention programs is the best solution for this violent 13-year-old  well then might I suggest a much better option –  military school.

    Send him away from home to an environment that he can't manipulate and control and make a man out of him.  Transfer the tax dollars used to pay for all those government counselors, psychologists and countless juvenile programs to pay for military school.

    Schools are not to blame for violent juvenile offenders. It is our permissive culture that turns a blind eye to out of birth wedlock and single parents. Children raised in single parent households are far far more likely to live in poverty, commit crime and abuse drugs. It also doesn't help when you have pop music with it's own dress code and lingo, promoting violence, anger and blame (especially rap music). 

    Personally, I look down on and show little respect for any man who doesn't marry a woman he impregnates and I am quick to cast harsh judgment. We should legislate law that provides more incentives to marry and at the same time stiffen the penalties for absentee fathers and eliminate any government entitlements such as LINK cards, food stamps and so on. 

    I also think charging the parent(s) court costs and sometimes even arresting them for criminal liability offers another method of prevention. 

    That's my nickel's worth.

  8. The extreme actions

    The extreme actions of this boy sound like those of a gang initiation. Probably absent parents made him a target for a gang's influence. Or as many children of gang members, he was born in to it. I don't know his history, but I taught middle school on the west side of Chicago and worked with many 13 year olds. They are not adults and make most of their choices to gain acceptance at some level– whether positive or negative. Overall, this is tragically sad. He should be held accountable for his actions, but he is young enough that locking him without rehabilitation would be a shame. This story is just tragic and sad. Evanston has more programs for youth than most places, so the city and schools are doing their part. Many with financial assistance. This boy is not representative of the children in this city. 

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