Teenaged robbers torment children

Bookmark and Share

Police in Oslo have charged as many as 20 teenagers aged 15 to 19 with the robberies of children as young as nine. Most of the children have been held up in the Groruddalen district on the capital’s east side, and robbed of their mobile phones and other valuables.

Police told newspaper Aftenposten that the teenagers they’ve charged have confessed to 25 robberies over the past six weeks. Some of their young victims, meanwhile, have been so traumatized that they’ve been afraid to go to school, walk alone in their neighbourhoods or ride public transportation.

‘Scarred for life’
“The quality of life has been seriously damaged for these children,” John Roger Lund, chief of the Stovner Police Station in Oslo, told both Aftenposten and Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “Many are scarred for life. Both the children and their parents are scared to death of reprisals.”

Many of the children are showing signs of anxiety and fear, he said. One young girl who was encircled by a gang of the teenage robbers while she sat in the back of a bus told police she felt physically ill during the harassment and robbery she was subjected to. Now she no longer dares to ride on a bus. A 12-year-old boy robbed on his way home from school refused to go back to school for a week after his ordeal.

The young victims’ parents are also severely disturbed after their children were not only robbed but also kicked and beaten by their assailants. “This plagues the whole family,” one father told Aftenposten. Their son was accosted, while out playing football, by five teens who demanded his mobile phone. When he claimed he didn’t have one, one of his tormenters threatened him with a metal rod while another kicked him in the chest and slugged him in the head. They then fished his phone out of his pocket and fled.

Two 18-year-olds jailed
Police are holding two teenagers who are believed to be the ringleaders of the robbery gang. “We haven’t had any new reports (of child robberies) after these two were jailed,” Lund said. Police have also seized brass knuckles and knives at the homes of some of those charged.

The two being held are both 18 years old and thus can be charged as adults. Both are being held mostly in isolation, with visits only allowed from their parents.

Police had up to a dozen investigators working to crack the case, which follows waves of earlier child robberies over the past 18 months. Police are also tracking down the phones stolen and say they’ll charge anyone found using them.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

Please support our news service. Readers in Norway can use our donor account. Our international readers can click on our “Donate” button: