Crimes against children a concerning trend in Western Washington

A growing issue is troubling law enforcement officials as thieves target children. 

Incidents on the rise over the last few months in Everette where an 11-year-old boy was swindled when a man paid with a counterfeit $100 bill. 

In Tacoma, two 10 and 13-year-old cousins were robbed of their hard-earned money. It was $80 they say a teen reached in and grabbed it from their register outside their lemonade stand. 

Community rallies around lemonade stand robbed by thief

Neighbors in Tacoma are helping out a lemonade stand business run by kids after it was targeted by a thief over the weekend.

Auburn Police are still trying to track down a man they say yanked a gold chain off a 4-year-old little girls neck 

The most recent was on Aug. 25 in Parkland where two 17-year-old boys held a 10-year-old girl at gunpoint. 

A traumatic experience for the child as the teens are now charged with felony assault, possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm. 

Everett PD: Man scammed 11-year-old's lemonade stand with fake $100 bill

Police are searching for man who took advantage of an 11-year-old running a lemonade stand by handing him a fake $100 bill for a drink and asking for exact change.

The incident was reported at the Altitude Apartments off 104th Street in Parkland. 

At first glance, it's like any other neighborhood, but around 1:30 in the afternoon an alarming call came through 911, according to Pierce County Sergeant Darren Moss. 

"I heard the call when it came out, and I was thinking at first thought is it was probably kids playing with toy guns," Moss said. 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. 

Sgt. Darren Moss says he and other Pierce County deputies were shocked and angered to hear two 17-year-old boys held a 10-year-old at gunpoint. 

"I’m fed up, done, sick of it. I don't want to see it," Moss said. 

This incident hits close to home for Moss who grew up in the neighborhood. 

"Doesn't have to be this way. It wasn't this way when I was a kid. Now I have to see that stuff. So it's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous," Moss said. 

The teens were arrested at the HeatherStone Apartments after deputies say they followed another child to this complex. 

While speaking with her, deputies spotted the teens and found two guns on their waistbands, a 9-millimeter and a 40 caliber – one of them stolen from Federal Way in 2021. 

"We don't need any more reminders of why gun violence is bad, why kids shouldn't be playing with guns, why kids shouldn't have access to guns," Moss said.  

Moss is not only concerned about the ongoing gun violence impacting children. 

In general, more and more crimes are being committed against children more often. 

Karen Avila, owns Tienda La Bonita, in Auburn. 

She usually brings her four-year-old daughter, Kaylee Rios to work with her. 

CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Auburn Police search for man who stole necklace off 4-year-old girl's neck

Police are searching for a man who stole a necklace from around the neck of a four-year-old girl earlier this month. 

But on Aug. 15, she says while she was making her daughter lunch this man approached the little girl – and yanked her gold necklace off her neck.  

Avila says the crime traumatized her daughter, who hasn’t been sleeping and won’t return to the restaurant worried the man will show back up.  

The mother says she was shocked because the man is a frequent customer.  

Now she’s calling on him and others targeting children  – to think twice about the mental harm it can cause.  

Sgt. Moss says this is a hard conversation for parents to have with their children; it's not something they should be doing. 

Instead, he was a reminder for every child – think before you act.  

"Everybody gets to make their own decisions. Everybody gets to grow up and be an adult at some point," Moss said.  

Pierce County deputies are hoping the 10-year-old victim comes forward, so they can help her cope with the situation.