Two Coachella 13-year-olds were arrested Thursday following two separate incidents involving what police said was an armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which provides policing services in the City of Coachella, the two teens approached another 13-year-old riding a bicycle in Dateland Park in Coachella on Tuesday and robbed him at gunpoint. The two then fled with the stolen bicycle, but there were no injuries related to the robbery, according to the sheriff's department.
One of the 13-year-olds involved in the robbery was also found to have been "bulling [sic] students in and around the area of the Bobby Duke Middle School," leading up to the incident, the department said in a news release. This reportedly included a Jan. 11 incident that saw that teen attack a different 13-year-old with a knife as he was walking home from school on Ninth Street in Coachella. The victim in that attempted stabbing was able to escape uninjured, according to the sheriff's department.
Department spokesperson Brandi Swan said the department was unsure of the motive for the knife attack and was unable to question the suspect further due to his age.
Both of the teens involved with the bike robbery were located and taken into custody on Thursday without incident, according to the sheriff's department. During the arrest, sheriff's deputies found what they said was a fully functioning "prop" firearm. When asked for clarification about the designation as a "prop" weapon, Swan said it was designed to fire blanks rather than standard bullets.
"It functions and looks just like a real gun, however, there are no projectiles that shoot out of the barrel," Swan wrote in an email.
Two search warrants were served in Coachella following the arrests, according to the sheriff's department, and both teens were booked into the Riverside County Juvenile Hall in Indio. The stolen bicycle was not recovered from either of the searches, Swan said.
The sheriff's department did not release any additional information on the identities of the suspects or victims.
James B. Cutchin covers business in the Coachella Valley. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: 13-year-olds rob teen at gunpoint in Coachella, sheriff's department says