Police Say Teens Hard to Control In Mob Robberies
(Memphis) Police say they know which teenagers are robbing people at Tom Lee Park.
They say almost every day a large group of teenagers leave together from Foote Homes Public Housing and head downtown to cause trouble, especially on the weekends.
“What don’t they do? They fight, they cause drama,” said Foot Homes Mom Shalunna Evans.
Evans has three teenagers living with her at Foot Homes and knows the kind of trouble we’re talking about, “They break into people`s cars, they shoot.”
Police say lately the teens are mobbing people at Tom Lee Park, taking cell phones, cash or whatever they can get.
“That needs to be stopped immediately,” said Paul Morris with the Downtown Memphis Commission.
Morris says he’s contacted the mayor and police department to make sure something is done, “We will not let that park go to that element.”
Police officers tell News Channel 3 that they often feel powerless to control these out-of-control teens. The teens rob in groups so the victims have a difficult time identifying who did it. Plus, when police spot the group, they can’t take them to jail, because they are juveniles and juvenile court sees detention as the last option so officers are told to write the teens “citations”.
“Has your child ever got a citation from police?” asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.
“Uh huh,” said Evans.
“Do you think that is enough punishment for someone acting crazy on the streets?” asked Hall.
“No,” said Evans.
A citation is an official charge and eventually teens must show-up at court but until then, they are free and police say they are back at it, causing trouble again.
“They just run around acting ruthless for nothing,” said Evans.
Those who love Downtown Memphis say the teens need to find a new hobby and quick.
“That park is a place for peaceful gathering and we will not tolerate that,” said Morris.
Police say they are using the Blue Crush Task Force and additional bike cops to crack down on the situation at Tom Lee Park.