Authorities are looking for a teenager who allegedly held up a child's lemonade stand at gunpoint.
Union County police spokesman Tony Underwood told reporters the thief stole the boy's metal money tin with less than $20 in it. Deputies believe the suspect left a bicycle in the brush for his getaway.
Neighbours told WCNC-TV that the boy's organic lemonade stand is well known in the neighbourhood, and that he is an entrepreneur who also mows lawns in the community.
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The nine-year-old's father, Philip Smith, said, "Never had an incident like this, never thought this would happen".
"It's pretty low, despicable in my book, and I can't believe someone would stoop that low to steal money from him", Smith said. The 9-year-old lemonade vendor said a teenager wearing a similar hat and a black shirt pointed a black handgun at him and took his cash box Saturday afternoon in Monroe, about 30 miles southeast of Charlotte.
It's reported he got away with the child's earnings of $17.
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According to WSOC, an ABC affiliate of WHSV, the boy was saving money in order to buy a lawnmower.
He said that nowadays, "Criminals are very bold" and that "this is a new low".
Mr Smith said that his son will continue to sell lemonade, but with added safety precautions.
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The police have been unable to locate the suspect so far.