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N.C. Police Search For Armed Robber Who Stole From Child's Lemonade Stand

A photo provided by James Castellano, of Monroe, N.C., shows a drink he bought from a boy, background, in Monroe on Saturday. A teenager who held up the North Carolina lemonade stand for $17 was still at large Monday, authorities said.

Law enforcement officers in Union County, N.C., are searching for the teenager who carried out the armed robbery of a child's lemonade stand over the weekend.

The 9-year-old was robbed around 3 p.m. on Saturday, in the town of Monroe.

"The suspect allegedly stuck a black handgun to the boy's stomach, demanded money and fled the scene on foot," the Union County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Public information officer Tony Underwood tells NPR that the robber got away with $17.

The sheriff's office described the suspect as a "teenage black male wearing a camo hat and black shirt."

"While searching the area for the suspect, deputies located a trail in the woods where a camo hat, a black colored BB handgun and the stolen metal tin were recovered," the sheriff's office says. "Deputies believe the suspect left a bicycle and walked from there to the lemonade stand before the robbery."

Local media outlets spoke to the child's father, Phillip Smith, who said his son ran the lemonade stand to raise money for a riding lawnmower — to use in his otherbusiness.

"Never had an incident like this, never thought this would happen," Smith told local TV station WJZY.

On Sunday, the 9-year-old was selling lemonade again — with his mom and dad this time. "We are being resilient," Smith told WJZY. "We kinda explained it to him that bad things do happen to good people."

Officers are continuing to follow leads in the case.

"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 tells NPR.

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Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.
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