On a sunny January afternoon, Amy Blumenthal drove to her Chicago home after picking up groceries. She turned off a street and into an alley, backed her car into her garage and started unloading the bags.
“All of a sudden, I heard something and looked up and there was a boy with a COVID mask on holding a gun just inches from my face,” Blumenthal says. He demanded she hand over her keys. Another young male, also wearing a mask, told her to hurry up.
In shock, she fumbled as she complied — they let her keep her house keys. Then they jumped in the car and sped off. Chicago police officers noticed their erratic driving, gave chase and the two were quickly arrested after crashing the vehicle into a building.
The robbery had left her shaken, but learning more about who they were left her stunned: They were just 15 and 13 years old.
“That made it sadder and scarier because teenagers’ ability to control their impulses and to think logically is so much less (than adults), it makes it scarier to have a 13-year-old with a gun,” Blumenthal says. “It could have ended much differently.”