ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Police have arrested three suspects in south St. Louis who they say robbed an autistic teenager walking home.
17-year-old Kendell Robinson walked more than a mile to buy his dad a Father’s Day present with the money he got for getting straight As all school year. A sharp-eyed St. Louis police captain out on a lunch break saw the victim moments after he was robbed and tracked down the suspects, who police say have no business there.
“This was a good kid. He gets straight As even dealing with the challenge of autism,” arresting officer Captain Dan Howard said. “Just the fact that these three preyed on him—these thugs—it speaks volumes to me about their character as human beings.”
Kelsy Williams, Bruce Purchase, and Marquis Townsend are each charged with robbery, accused of stealing the gift and the leftover cash from Robinson in south St. Louis. The camera-shy Kendell showed News 4 the gift he got his dad, which was found and returned by police.
“You always think it doesn’t happen to you, that it happens to somebody else,” Kendell’s dad Armetha Robinson said. “When it’s yours, it’s shock and surprise.”
The trio is from North St. Louis, but Captain Dan Howard says the 18-year-olds drove to the south side to commit their crimes.
“I think they were preying on people and that they were going to head back out of the area. They don’t live around here and have no business being here,” Captain Howard said.
And that can make it difficult for police to identify the bad guys.
“It makes it a little more of a challenge because those who are witnesses in the area won’t recognize them if they’re not from around here, they won’t be able to get identities on them,” Captain Howard said. “I think that’s part of their strategy.”
Robinson isn’t surprised. He’s seen a lot in his 23 years as a city corrections officer.
“It hurts to know that his life could have been taken trying to do a good thing for his father by guys who don’t care about anything,” Robinson said. “Quick-gratitude, self-gratitude, what I want now - take it from anybody.”