String of Tulsa robberies ends with a fatal shooting

Monday, January 16th 2006, 10:19 am
By: News On 6

Robberies in Tulsa are turning violent. Tulsa had three armed robberies in just three hours Sunday night, two of the victims were shot, one of them died.

The robbers are kids too young to own a car or legally drink, but not too young to rob or kill. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright uncovers why teenage robbers seem more violent than their adult counterparts.

The first robbery Sunday evening happened near the Best Value Inn on East Skelly Drive. A woman, her teenage daughter and her friend handed over their purses, jewelry and car keys when confronted by two teenage boys with guns.

Tulsa Police say teenage criminals keep getting spit out of the juvenile justice system in hopes they'll get a wake-up call that gets them on the right path. Some say, that is not working. Tulsa Police Sgt Dave Walker: "We don't need a wake-up call. We need to put them away. We need to warehouse some of these kids for 50 or 60 years."

A couple hours after the women were robbed; several people were robbed at the Red Fox Apartments. A robber shot one of the victims, just missing the man's aorta, he's lucky to be alive. The next victim wasn't so lucky. He was shot in the chest and despite his family's best efforts to save his life, he died.

Sgt Dave Walker: "uniformed officers are doing a good job of arresting them, but we're just outnumbered on any given night.”

A recent survey by the Athena Research Corporation compared teenage and adult robbers. It found teenage robbers are more violent than adult robbers. It says 40 percent of teenage robbers hurt or killed someone during their crime, compared to 22 percent of adults, likely because the teenagers were more nervous, so quicker on the trigger.

90 percent of the teenage robbers blame the victims for the violence, saying they got hurt because they resisted or tried to be heroes. 40 percent of the teenagers say they rob for money to buy drugs or alcohol.

Tulsa Police say teenagers must be shown that armed robberies are not a path to money, but a path to prison, before the situation gets out of control.