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Child used as bait in robbery

Police are investigating how a small child was allegedly used as “bait” to ambush and rob an Andalusia couple Monday.

Sgt. Ray Dixon, an investigator with the Andalusia Police Department, said the incident occurred at approximately 8 p.m., on Brewton Street.

“The man and woman were traveling east on Brewton Street, headed toward Stanley Avenue, when they came upon a small child – aged between 5 and 7 – just standing in the middle of the street,” Dixon said. “And like anyone else would do, stopped to check on him. When the man attempted to exit the vehicle, he was ambushed by three black males, who pulled him from the car and began to beat him.”

Dixon said he believed the three suspects hid between a vacant house and bushes before the assault. The group made repeated demands for the couple’s money, while the beating occurred, he said.

“Someone then pulled the keys from the vehicle’s ignition and threw them to the ground,” he said. “The female passenger remained in the car, but her door was opened and her purse, which was sitting in her lap, was snatched out of her grasp.”

Dixon said while the incident was occurring another vehicle pulled in front of the parked car, blocking its escape route.

“Inside that car was another black male and a black female sitting in the back passenger seat,” he said.

“Once it stopped, everyone jumped in the vehicle and fled.”

Dixon said the male victim, who suffered superficial injuries, was able to retrieve his vehicle’s keys and drive them to the police department.

The female passenger was uninjured.

“She said the one thing she was fearful of was being raped,” he said. “It all happened very fast, and they weren’t sure if the child left the scene or was picked up. They said they didn’t see him get into a vehicle, so we’re unsure as to the child’s role in this.”

Dixon said the couple was driving an older model Dodge pickup truck, and the suspects fled on a “dark 4-door sedan.”

He said the couple’s truck was processed for fingerprints and police were unable to locate the purse near the scene.

“It’s a shame that someone would use a child as bait to participate in a crime,” Dixon said. “Just a shame.”

Once located, those responsible could face charges including second-degree robbery, assault and possibly charges stemming from using a child to perpetrate a crime.