FORT MYERS, Fla. — The three children accused in two separate Fort Myers armed robberies went back before a judge Friday, and Fox 4's Briana Brownlee was the only reporter in the courtroom.
Fox 4 first told you about their arrests on Tuesday in connection to an armed robbery on September 1.
The children — just 12, 13, and 14 years old — were arrested and booked Thursday for a second armed robbery. According to the arrest report released to Fox 4, it happened on Monday, August 28 in Fort Myers.
The report states the trio stole $900 and a cell phone after the youngest pulled a black handgun on the victim.
Friday, Judge Carolyn Swift ordered the three to be held in custody for 21 days.
Two of the children's mothers were in court, but didn't speak.
When we first told you about the September 1 robbery — which FMPD said involved a stolen gun — police believed the trio was behind other robberies.
"The arrested individuals are believed to be responsible for multiple armed robberies that have taken place across various locations within our jurisdiction," said FMPD's spokeswoman Officer Kristin Capuzzi. "The use of firearms during these crimes has escalated the level of danger and anxiety experienced by the victims, and our primary focus remains on ensuring the safety and security of our community members."
Officer Capuzzi added that FMPD is committed to working alongside community organizations, schools and families to provide resources and support to help prevent future incidents and redirect the lives of these juveniles toward a better path.
When this news first broke, many non-profits in our area pointed out the need for more crime prevention programs to stop situations like this from happening.
"It is disheartening to witness young individuals engaging in criminal activities," said Officer Capuzzi. "We recognize the need for a comprehensive approach to address the underlying issues that contribute to such behavior."
Because of their alleged involvement in other crimes, FMPD said they chose to release the kids' mugshots to the public.
Fox 4 is aware of the discussion on social media about releasing those photos.
We decided to broadcast them along with the video of the children in court because of the severity of the accusations and their second armed robbery charges.
All three are expected to be back in court on September 26.