ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Police in St. Augustine have arrested five teens in a one-week stretch, all of whom now face felony charges for crimes involving guns.
Even though it’s not yet March, the St. Augustine Police Department has made eight arrests of people under the age of 18 – the same number of minors the agency arrested in all of 2018.
“It’s extremely surprising,” said Cmdr. Jennifer Michaux. “And it’s kind of disheartening at the same time, you know, that we are having the influx of juvenile crime at this time.”
The latest incident unfolded about 3 p.m. Sunday near Oglethorpe Park when a taxi driver was pistol-whipped during an attempted robbery. A search led police to a nearby home, where they recovered a BB gun and took two 14-year-old boys into custody on armed robbery and battery charges.
Sunday’s incident came just two days after a 15-year-old boy was arrested at the 34th annual Cathedral Festival. Officers looking into a report of a teen carrying around a concealed firearm found a 9mm handgun tucked into the boy’s waistband. He’s charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
Less than a week ago, two teens were arrested following an incident involving a gun at Project Swing Park. In that case, police said an attempted robbery escalated when one of the teens involved pulled a gun from his waistband. The teens, ages 15 and 17, are charged with armed robbery.
It’s unclear how the teens, all of whom are from St. Johns County, got hold of the weapons in these incidents. Police told News4Jax that none of the firearms involved in these cases were reported stolen.
While Michaux said it’s disheartening to see young people headed down the wrong path, she noted that investigators have no information suggesting any of the recent incidents are related.
“I have a child out there,” said Michaux. “It’s just, you don’t want to see them just throw their lives away like that when there’s so much to offer.”