Children rob Wells Fargo bank; turned in to Sheriff by parents

NORTHEAST HOUSTON — Parents of young bank robbers dubbed as “little rascals” turned them in, according to the Harris County Sheriff.

A group of kids ranging between 11, 12, and 16 years old were arrested after police said they robbed a bank in Greenspoint.

The three bank robbery suspects dubbed as the “little rascals” are now in custody, according to the FBI Houston.

The trio made headlines when authorities shared on social media that they were wanted for allegedly robbing a Wells Fargo bank on the North Freeway and West Road in the Greenspoint area.

Initially, a witness told officials the boys appeared to be between 14 and 18 years old. But, in the arrest update, the FBI said they are 16, 12, and 11 years old.

“The age of the younger two, that’s unusual for a bank robbery,” Mike Schneider, a retired juvenile district court judge told media.

While FBI Houston released the surveillance photos, the case is a Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigation.

According to HCSO, the boys passed a threatening note to a teller. They were believed to be armed, though they did not present a weapon, and they got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Once the photos were released, HCSO started getting tips from the public. Parents of two of the boys came forward and identified them, the sheriff’s office said. The third boy was handled by a law enforcement agency following a fight and recognized. The sheriff’s office said authorities recovered a weapon and a distinctive item pictured in one of the photos.

The “little rascals” are charged with robbery by threat, a second-degree felony.

“I was thinking either this was very low in sophistication or maybe an adult had something to do with this. That is not uncommon. Because kids have a punishment that is less severe, it is not uncommon for adult offenders to get them to commit crimes,” Schneider said.

Investigators will not say if anyone else is involved or whether any cash was recovered.

Because they are minors, the FBI said their names and additional details will not be released.

If the allegations are proven true, they could face probation until they turn 18 or juvenile prison until they turn 19, according to one criminal defense attorney. The 16-year-old could also be certified as an adult, but it is not likely, he said.

The trio left the bank on foot.

The bank robbery comes as members of the juvenile division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office tell media the crime trends they’re seeing among teenagers are concerning.

The DA’s office say while homicides are reducing overall in the county, the juvenile offender homicide rate has increased by 76% since 2021.

“The numbers aren’t lying on those. We are seeing an uptick in particularly very violent crimes,” Harris County District Attorney’s Office 314th District Court Chief Allen Otto said.

“Sometimes older kids or even young adults are using younger kids because they know the consequences of being charged as a juvenile are likely not to be as severe as if you’re charged as an adult,” Otto said.

“The law says that a judge has final say on whether a kid stays in juvenile court or whether it gets moved over to adult court,” Otto said.

Otto says while the juvenile violent crime numbers are concerning, with in recent years, they’ve expanded and had success with the diversionary programs they provide teens.

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