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Armed suspect attempts to rob 4th graders walking to school

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — New Bedford police are searching for a teenage suspect accused of trying to rob two young boys while wielding a knife Wednesday morning.

Police told Eyewitness News the attempted robbery happened near the corner of Acushnet Avenue and South Street when two 4th graders were walking to Gomes Elementary, which is about a block away. The teenager who confronted them demanded money and potato chips, then tripped and pushed the boys when they refused. One of the boys suffered a “minor scratch” when his hand made contact with a knife in the suspect’s hand, according to police.

Police said an unidentified adult intervened in the skirmish and the boys ran away. The suspect did not get away with any of their possessions.

“I’m in shock to hear this,” said Jose Serpa, who lives across the street from Gomes and has a 3rd grader who attends the school. “Especially because we have a lot of kids that walk on their own to school.”

Serpa said he walks his son to and from school but was considering letting him walk alone next year.

‘”Now I have to worry about…will something happen?” Serpa said neighbors should be watching out for local children. “We need to be vigilant, especially people who are living here. So we have unity, we look after one another.”

Police said the suspect is described as a Hispanic teen, about 15 years old, with very short hair and a goatee, standing approximately 5-foot-8, and last seen wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call the New Bedford Police Department at (508) 991-6350 or leave an anonymous tip by calling (508) 992-7463 or e-mail

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