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Two teens charged in series of sneaker-related armed robberies

Hoping to find a buyer for his Air Jordan 6 Golden Moment sneakers, a 14-year-old Duluth High School took to a Facebook page called “Gwinnett Sneakerheads.” Among the page’s nearly 3,400 members, the teen found an interested party.

He agreed to sell the high-end shoes for $280, and to meet the buyer at the Jenny Food Mart on Club Drive. He brought the sneakers — but the “buyer” brought a handgun.

Two teens, both believed to be Berkmar High School students, have now been arrested in connection with that robbery and at least two others. Tyrese Tyrail Watkins, 17, and a 16-year-old juvenile are facing felony charges and up to 20 years in prison.

According to Gwinnett County police incident reports, the above victim exchanged text messages with one of his soon-to-be assailants on the same day they made the Facebook connection. They originally decided to meet at the aforementioned supermarket but, at the last minute, the suspect changed the location to the Wesley St. Claire Apartments, located at 3350 Sweetwater Road.

The victim and a friend reportedly arrived at the apartments at about 10:15 p.m. on a day in mid-December, parking near the mailboxes. One of the suspects came up to the car and tapped on the passenger side window and the victim got out of the car and handed over the sneakers.

“The victim advised that while he was standing with the first male, the second male came from out of the shadows of the leasing officer building,” reports said. “… The second male asked the first male, ‘Are they good?’ The (first) male stated, ‘They’re clean.’”

The latter comment referred to the condition of the shoes.

“The victim advised that at that time the second male pulled out a black handgun and pointed it at him,” police said. “The victim stated that the second subject then yelled, ‘Get back in the car.’ … The victim stated that the male with the gun put the gun to his forehead.”

Both suspects ran toward an apartment complex at 3250 Sweetwater Road — where it would be quickly determined that they lived. It’s believed the juvenile suspect is the one who used the handgun.

The robbery followed the pattern from a similar crime the day before, police said, as well as a third about a week beforehand.

In the very first robbery, the aforementioned juvenile allegedly negotiated the sale of a pair of sneakers via Facebook and set up an exchange at the Jenny Food Mart. The 21-year-old victim met the suspect near a Dumpster.

“The suspect removed the shoes from the box then repackaged them, bagged them, tucked them under his right arm and ran towards the intersection of Club Drive and Sweetwater Club Drive and the Richmond on the Fairway apartments,” the report said. “(The victim) began to chase the suspect until the suspect turned and pointed a black revolver-type handgun at him.”

Both suspects were arrested shortly after the third robbery. Both have been charged with armed robbery and Gwinnett County jail records show they are being held without bond.