New Brunswick

12-year-old boy admits to armed robbery of Moncton convenience store

A 12-year-old Moncton boy has admitted to robbing a local convenience store at knifepoint while masked, paying someone $20 to be his getaway driver and then burning his clothing to conceal his crime.

Boy who was masked and wielding knife during holdup found criminally responsible after psychiatric assessment

The boy was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment during his last court appearance on Feb. 17. (Robert Jones/CBC)

A 12-year-old Moncton boy has admitted to robbing a local convenience store at knifepoint while wearing a mask, paying someone $20 to be his getaway driver and then burning his clothing to conceal his crime.

He was caught when his mother discovered he was hiding $65 in his pocket and called police, the Crown prosecutor told the Moncton courtroom on Wednesday.

The boy, who cannot be named under provisions of the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act, appeared in youth court wearing handcuffs and shackles, following a 30-day psychiatric assessment.

He was declared fit to stand trial and criminally responsible for his actions, the courtroom heard.

He pleaded guilty to armed robbery and wearing a mask during the commission of a crime.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 10 at 9:30 a.m.

The boy smiled at eight supporters in the courtroom as the facts of the case were read aloud.

Refused to identify getaway driver

RCMP responded to ​Handi's Convenience Store on Second Avenue in the Parkton neighbourhood on Feb. 15, shortly after 1 p.m.

A lone male had entered the store wearing a mask, a hoodie, baggy pants, sneakers and a backpack, with a kitchen knife in his hand.

He pointed the "long" knife at the clerk and demanded money, leaning over to take the cash from the employee's hand.

He made off with about $100 and no one was injured.

His mother called the RCMP around 2:30 p.m. The boy admitted to robbing the store but refused to give police the name of the person he paid to drive his getaway car.

Released under conditions

The boy's mother addressed Judge Paul Duffie, saying she wants what is best for her son.

"I don't know what that is, but I'm willing to take him in my home," she said, adding she has to work and wouldn't be able to watch her son 24 hours a day.

Duffie released the boy into his mother's care under several conditions, pending his sentencing.

He must remain in the home between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., keep the peace and be of good behaviour, not consume any drugs or alcohol, not use or possess any firearms or weapons, and not enter any stores.

"You're in her home," stressed Duffie. "If you don't follow those rules … she's going to tell me that."

The boy has not been attending school, the courtroom heard. His father said he was earlier in the year, while he was living with him, but "my environment is a little more strict."

The boy testified he stopped attending classes when he moved back in with his mother because she couldn't find a school willing to take him.

"Mom was trying to find me a tutor," he said.

The judge ordered another meeting for March 29, to check in with the family to ensure the conditions are working or whether any of them need to be changed.

Sentencing options and a reintegration plan are also expected to be discussed during the conference with legal officials.

With files from Tori Weldon