By Mark Abrams, Jericka Duncan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia district attorney’s office has charged a 10-year-old boy in connection with a home-invasion robbery Monday afternoon in which a 51-year-old woman who was sleeping inside her Juniata home was beaten and robbed (see related stories).
Police say they are still looking for two other youngsters — believed to be between seven and nine years old — whom they say were also involved.
Police say the 10-year-old was turned in by his mother and lived just a few houses away from the victim’s home.
He was charged with simple and aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, recklessly endangering another person, criminal trespass, and possession of an instrument of crime.
“Law enforcement is seeing these crimes as bad enough to be charged as adults,” said criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos.
Cevallos says he finds himself representing more and more children. He says he believes the problems for many juveniles can be linked back to their home lives.
“It’s quite simply, family structure has broken down, that’s what you see a lot of in these cases,” declared Cevallos. “You can blame it on school being out, you can ask for more cops but at the end of the day these kids need supervision one way or the other.”
Police say the trio broke into her home, beat her with sticks and rope, threw a potted plant at her, stole money from her purse, trashed the house, and ran off.
“The parents have responsibility for that,” said Tien Dao.
Dao is the pastor of Vietnamese Alliance. He owns the home where Tran lives.
He says he and his wife were introduced to Tran a few years ago at church and decided to take her in, because she was homeless.
They converted their garage into a room, never thinking Tran would be in harms way.
The victim was treated for cuts and bruises. Police say she later positively identified the 10-year-old as one of her attackers. According to police, the 10-year-old suspect is refusing to cooperate with authorities.