PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Neighbors are rallying around a pair of teens who were robbed at gunpoint this past Friday night.
Two boys were running a lemonade stand when they were robbed at gunpoint on California and Forrest Hill in Peoria. One boy’s dad Nathan Peterson said it’s a call he didn’t expect to get.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever gotten a call from the police, but thankfully they said right away, the boys are OK, and I think they used the word jumped,” Peterson said.
Neighbors and police officers are turning the sour experience into a sweet one. Police on the scene buying glasses of lemonade with $20 bills. Peterson said the response from the Peoria Police was great.
“The atmosphere that they set up was peaceful and safe,” Peterson said. “It felt like the boys were being safe and protected.”
The Peoria community is also showing its’ support. Cody Pullium, a Peoria Heights man heard the news of the robbing and wanted to help out.
“As a teacher, I advocate for kids constantly so whatever I can do to help these guys out,” Pullium said.
Pullium started a Facebook fundraiser asking for donations to help the young teens out. Which at the time of this writing was almost at $3,000 dollars. He said when he started it, he didn’t think it wold reach that.
“I did not,” Pullium said. “When I was looking I was like I’ll do 200 that’s about what they made.”
Peterson said the money they’ve received will be put towards a cause that the donators can be proud of.
“We received back what they lost and way way more,” Peterson said.
Peterson said the attention the boys have received has its’ benefits as well as a downside but he’s overwhelmed with the support neighbors, police, and strangers have shown the boys.
“We’re trying to remind them this isn’t something that they caused,” Peterson said. “This attention is a gift, but it’s going to go away at some point too.”
Pullium said he remembers having lemonade stands growing up and wanted to help even if he didn’t know the boys personally.
“They’re complete strangers and I would hope that if I had kids, someone would try to speak out and advocate for them,” Pullium said.
Peterson said his son will continue to run the lemonade stand and hopes the world can be a safe place for a 13-year-old to make some extra cash.
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