Both of the alleged robbers and a 14-year-old were arrested in Lowell about 1 p.m. on Wednesday after the 15-year-old victim called 911 to report the crime and give police a description of the three suspects.
In Lowell District Court Thursday, Demitri Tucci, 19, and Robert Alexander, 17, pleaded not guilty to armed robbery in connection with the robbery.
Prosecutor Phil Chen sought $10,000 cash bail on each man, noting the seriousness of the case, but Judge Matthew Machera released both teens on personal recognizance with conditions that Alexander, who has a limited juvenile record, abide by a 6 p.
Alexander, who allegedly handled the gun, was ordered held in custody until next week, when a GPS-monitoring device becomes available. Chen said that on July 31, Alexander and Tucci, along with the unnamed juvenile, agreed to meet the teen at the park to buy marijuana. The trio rode to the spot on their bicycles. Chen said the juvenile provided Alexander with a gun, which turned out to be an unloaded BB gun, which he cocked and put to the victim's head, telling him to hand over the marijuana and leave.
The victim fled and called police. A Dracut police officer working a detail heard a description of the three bike-riding suspects broadcast over the police radio and directed patrolmen to their location, Deputy Chief David Chartrand said.
According to Chen, when the juvenile suspect raised his hands, a black gun, which turned out to be a BB gun, allegedly fell out of his pocket.
In arguing for release without bail, defense attorney Sharon Sullivan argued Tucci has no record and was merely present when the theft took place.
Defense attorney Jeanne Early noted that Alexander turned 17 in May. Their next court date is a probable-cause hearing scheduled for Sept. 13.
Late Wednesday, just before midnight, Dracut police officers responding to alarm-activation calls from Broadway Convenience, CVS pharmacy, and In Style Nails found the 15-year-old victim from the earlier Veterans Park robbery at the scene, where he allegedly admitted to having just smashed the windows of all three businesses.
"Apparently, he was despondent about his recent circumstances and was acting out in anger," Chartrand said.
The juvenile was arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property over $250.
Though the 15-year-old declined to identify himself to the dispatcher during his earlier 911 call to report the armed robbery, police later learned the teen's identity while questioning the Lowell teens, Chartrand said.
"We were able to discover who the victim was and make contact with him, and that's when he elaborated on what happened during the robbery and on his original 911 call," Chartrand said.
"We're still determining if any charges will be brought against him for the attempted drug deal," Chartrand added.