Three juveniles, ages 14 to 16, were arrested on suspicion of armed robbery early Wednesday after two men reported being robbed at gunpoint.
The robbery was reported around 12:30 a.m. near Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 21st Street. Merced Police Cmdr. Floyd Higdon said one of the suspects, a 16-year-old, allegedly approached one of the victims saying that he was a gang member.
He pointed a gun at the head of the victim and demanded money. Higdon said the gun-toting teen was then joined by a 14- year-old and 16-year-old.
The first victim tried to run, but was struck in the back of the head by at least one of the suspects. The suspects then demanded his necklace, hat and cell phone.
Meanwhile, the other victim reported seeing his friend surrounded by three or four teens. One of the suspects chased him into an alley in the 200 block of West 19th Street, Higdon said.
Officers spotted the teens in the 200 block of West 19th Street, near I Street. A .22 caliber revolver was found tucked in the 14-year-old's waistband, Higdon said.
The first victim identified the three teens as the robbers. He also identified one of the 16-year-old suspects as having the gun during the robbery, while the other 16-year-old wore the stolen necklace from the victim. The two 16-year-olds are both validated gang members, Higdon said.
The boys were booked into Merced County Juvenile Hall on charges ranging from robbery, conspiracy to commit a criminal act, participation in a criminal street gang, possession of a loaded firearm and possession of marijuana.
Police are asking anyone with information about this incident to call Detective Joe Deliman at (209) 385-6992 or the department's tip line at (209) 385-4725.
-- Victor A. Patton