Five teenagers, three of them girls, were arrested by police following an assault Tuesday night at a North Merced grocery store and a carjacking only minutes later outside a bookstore.
Sgt. Alan Ward of the Merced Police Department said a girl brandished a knife at a woman sitting in an subcompact car outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the 1400 block of West Olive Avenue and she left the car as the teens started to jump in. The woman's boyfriend was able to overpower the two male accomplices who then fled the scene but were apprehended shortly by officers.
Lt. Bimley West said the teens' actions were very bold. He said gender has nothing to do with major crimes and many in the younger generation have no respect for adults or doing the right thing.
Ward said officers Peter Villarreal, Kennon Sayachack, and Andrew Marshall responded to a report of five juveniles, ages 14 through 16, breaking items in the Save Mart Supermarket in the 1300 block of West Olive Avenue. Officers learned the juveniles had fled from Save Mart and were fighting in the Barnes & Noble parking lot and that one of them had a knife.
Officers said the teens vandalized Save Mart store merchandise by knocking over displays and breaking liquor bottles. When Save Mart employees attempted to detain the juveniles, they assaulted several employees before running west through the parking lot toward the Lowe's shopping complex in the 1400 block of West Olive Avenue.
Ward said one of the girls asked the female victim sitting in her car just in front of Barnes & Noble bookstore for a ride. When she refused, the juvenile produced a 10-inch knife and pointed it at the victim. The juvenile ordered the victim out of her car, telling her if she did not get out of the car and leave the keys she was going to stab her.
While the other teens were trying to get into the victim's subcompact car, her boyfriend saw what was happening and came to her aid. When the boyfriend intervened he was confronted by the two males who began to fight with him. The boyfriend was able to fend off the attackers, who ran from the scene. Officers arrived just when all five teens were trying to run away.
The female juvenile who threatened the victim with the knife was arrested and booked into Merced County Juvenile Hall on charges of carjacking, making terrorist threats, threatening and intimidating a witness, brandishing and vandalism.
The second female juvenile who took possession of the victim's car was booked on charges of carjacking, threatening and intimidating a witness, and vandalism. The third female juvenile was arrested and later released to her grandmother on charges of threatening and intimidating a witness and vandalism.
The two boys were arrested on charges of assault and battery, threatening and intimidating a witness, and vandalism and were later released to the custody of a parent.
Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209 385-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.