Walking home along the Bear Creek bike path after school Monday, a 14-year-old Hoover Middle School student was robbed at gunpoint by two men but escaped from the 2:20 p.m. incident unhurt.
Merced police Lt. Bimley West said one of the robbers threatened to shoot the boy with a small-caliber handgun if he didn't give them money. When the boy said he didn't have any cash, they took his backpack and fled toward G Street on the bike path.
West said the incident was very traumatic for the teen, who was minding his own business when he was approached from behind and knocked to the ground.
Robberies used to be higher in winter months but are persisting throughout the year with the robbers becoming more intense and willing to use handguns, West said.
"They (robberies) are still going on where they would traditionally taper off," West said. "It's due to the state of the economy. This incident shows the state-of-mind many people have."
The robbers are described as black men, one 20 to 21 years of age, approximately 6 feet 2 inches tall and 150 pounds; and the other 18 to 19 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 130 pounds.
Officers checked the area for the robbers, but were unable to find them. The backpack was later found along the bike path and returned to the victim. Those with information about the robbery or the thieves are asked to contact Sgt. Scott Skinner at (209) 385-4702 or the tip line at (209) 385-4725.
Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.