ANTIOCH — A 16-year-old thought to be a hostage in a barbershop robbery and carjacking was evidently in on the crime, police said this week. Police arrested the unidentified teen and Eric Lerone Walker, 23, the alleged gunmen, on Tuesday.
The robbery happened Monday afternoon at Al’s Barber, located at 11 W. 18th St. in Antioch, while manger Al Stewart-Holmes was working, police reports state.
Walker entered the shop and allegedly pulled a sawed-off shotgun from underneath his clothing, ordering Holmes to get on the ground. Holmes proceeded to give him loose money, his wallet and other
miscellaneous items, according to reports.
“I have been at this location for four years and nothing like this has ever happened,” Holmes said.
During the robbery the 16-year-old employee of the shop returned from an errand. Walker reportedly took the teen by gunpoint, and then fled in the shop manger’s vehicle.
“The robbery suspect ordered the victim to get into the owner’s car,” said Capt. Leonard Orman of the Antioch Police Department.
An Amber Alert was issued for the teen but later canceled when he contacted family members several hours later. The teen refused to talk to police but later agreed to an interview with authorities where he admitted his participation in the crime.
“The juvenile revealed involvement with the planning of the robbery and disclosed where (Holmes) kept money in the shop and when the amount was large enough to commit the robbery,” Orman said.
The barbershop remains open, with Holmes saying he has received an outpouring of support from the community.
“I am totally shocked and speechless to know someone I care about is involved in this matter,” Holmes said.
Holmes gave the 16-year-old odd jobs around the shop to keep him off the streets.
“I still love him and care for him and I hope things work out,” Holmes added. “I don’t know how extensive our relationship or friendship will be after this. I just hope and pray he gets his life together.”