LOWELL -- Two Lowell men are facing armed-robbery charges after they allegedly arranged to buy marijuana from a Dracut teen at Veterans Memorial Park in Dracut, then put a gun to his head and stole the drugs.
Both teens and a 14-year-old unnamed alleged accomplice were arrested on 18th Street in Lowell at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday after the 15-year-old victim called 9-1-1 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, both of 8 Dudley Court, Lowell, 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.m. curfew and Tucci, who has no record, adhere to a 7 p.m. curfew.
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 on Broadway Road to buy some marijuana. The trio rode to the spot on their bicycles.
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 argued 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 at 4, 11 and 14 Broadway Road, 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 9-1-1 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 9-1-1 call," Chartrand said.
"We're still determining if any charges will be brought against him for the attempted drug deal," Chartrand added.
At the scene of the arrests on 18th Street, police say they recovered a discarded bag of marijuana that appeared to contain less than four grams, Chartrand said. The recovered gun was identified as a .177 cal GAMO PT-85 Blowback airsoft pistol.
Chartrand was alarmed by the realistic-looking appearance of the air pistol, which at first and second glance closely resembles a semi-automatic handgun, he said.
"I had to look at that thing more than one time to determine it wasn't actually real," Chartrand said.
The Sun's Dracut reporter John Collins contributed to this article.
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