Monroe, NC – A nine-year-old boy running a lemonade stand was robbed of his profits at gunpoint in North Carolina.
The incident occurred at about 3 p.m. on Aug. 4 when a teenager walked up to the organic lemonade stand and stuck a gun in the little boy’s stomach and demanded money, according to WJZY-TV.
"I opened the box, he grabbed it, pushed the gun at me and ran away," victim Mark David told WSOC-TV. The teenage boy stole $17 from the nine-year-old.
His mother, who said she always stays on a video chat with David when he's got his stand open, overheard the robbery.
"It's really terrifying and every parent can relate to that, even if it's not your own child, your heart hurts and bleeds for that," his mother told WSOC.
David has been setting up his lemonade stand up on a roundabout at the entrance to his neighborhood all summer, according to WJZY. He said he was trying to earn money to buy a lawn mower for his other side business.
“Never had an incident like this, never thought this would happen," David’s father, Philip Smith, told WJZY.
Union County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Tony Underwood said that criminals had reached a new low in robbing a child’s lemonade stand.
"I think people are capable of a lot of things, but not robbing a child at a lemonade stand, that takes it to a new level," Underwood told WJZY.
Police have been investigating and uncovered what they believed were several pieces of evidence in a wooded area nearby.
“They found the camo hat we believe was worn by the suspect,” Underwood said. “We also found a black-colored handgun we believe was the handgun that was used, turns out it was a BB gun.”
Investigators also recovered a metal tin the little boy had used as his cash box and a bicycle they think the suspect left behind, according to WSOC-TV. Police were hoping they would get DNA and fingerprints from the bicycle.
At this point, police do not have any suspects, but they’ve heard from plenty of people who were horrified by what happened to the lemonade stand’s tiny proprietor.
"We have been overwhelmed with calls, messages and requests from citizens all over the country wanting to donate funds and even [lawn] mowers to the child, but still no arrests," Underwood told NPR.
Fortunately, David hasn’t allowed the robbery to crush his entrepreneurial spirit. He reopened his lemonade stand less than 24 hours after his cash was stolen, his father said.
"We are being resilient and he came out here to sell some lemonade today just to be back at it and taking out time to process everything that happened," Smith told WJZY. "We kinda explained it to him that bad things do happen to good people and you never know when it's going to happen to you. You just gotta pray and be glad that he is safe."
A nearby Lowe’s store manager heard the story and worked quickly to help the little boy.
The Mooresville-based hardware store donated a new pony model riding lawnmower to David, WSOC reported.
“It's pretty cool what you're trying to do at such a young age, and tell you what, it's pretty awesome to be a part of it," Lowe’s store manager Chris Beatty said.