An 18-year-old gang member who racked up four gun-related arrests as a juvenile was busted again this week in connection to a gunpoint robbery at an East Village cellphone store, cops and police sources said.
Atiba Johnson, of the G-Stone Crips, was one of four suspects nabbed Wednesday in connection to the Wednesday stickup at the Metro PCS store on First Avenue near East 14th Street, authorities and sources said.
The crew entered the store around 4:30 p.m., when one of them brandished a gun and snatched up three phones and an unspecified amount of cash, cops said.
The suspects then hopped into a white Honda Civic and made a getaway — driving about three miles to a location on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, authorities said.
Police were able to find them there because the store has the ability to track stolen phones, cops said.
In addition to Johnson, four other suspects were arrested in connection to the phone heist — including two 14-year-old boys, a 17-year-old boy and Shawn Francis, 20, cops and sources said.
A fifth suspect is still on the lam, cops said Friday morning.
Records show that Johnson was arraigned on robbery and weapon possession charges — and ordered held on $50,000 bail.
His previous gun arrest, as an adolescent offender, was on Oct. 25, 2021, in Brooklyn, cops said.
He was 16 at the time of that bust.
Records show he was held on $50,000 bail. It was not immediately clear how or why he was released.
His next court date on that case is scheduled for Jan. 18, records show.
Prior to that arrest, he racked up three now-sealed arrests for possession of loaded guns, police sources said.
Johnson’s latest bust came just a day before the NYPD revealed Thursday that out-of-control teens are committing a growing portion of the Big Apple’s robberies.
During a briefing on last year’s CompStat numbers, Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael Lipetri said 20% of robbery arrests during the fourth quarter involved “individuals under the age of 18,” compared to 17% for the entire year.
“Under 18, robbing New Yorkers. The statistics are out there,” he said ruefully.
Even worse, Lipetri said, “The trends continue on, unfortunately, with 10% of all shooting victims — 10% of all shooting victims in New York City — are under the age of 18.
“Every other age category is down when you track it between 10 and 17, and 18 and 24, and so,” he added during the presentation at NYPD headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
A Manhattan cop blamed the state’s “Raise the Age” law — approved by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017 — which changed the age at which someone can be prosecuted as an adult from 16 to 18, for keeping Johnson and other arrested teens on the street.
“Raising the age allows young criminals like Mr. Johnson to walk the streets with guns ready to use them with no fear of going to jail,” the source told The Post. “Criminals like this put innocent citizens in danger.”
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