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3-year-old finds gun in church ivy

The hunt for a suspect involved in an aborted robbery attempt may have gotten a boost from a 3-year-old, according to Suffolk officials.

The toddler found a handgun in some ivy outside of N. Main Street’s Suffolk Christian Church on Thursday morning, according to Suffolk spokesperson Debbie George. After a teacher saw the child, the child dropped the gun, and the teacher retrieved it and notified police.

Police, according to George, believe the weapon was disposed of after a failed robbery attempt at about 9 p.m. Tuesday in a bank parking lot at the corner of N. Main and Saratoga streets.

A woman who had pulled into the parking lot became alarmed when she saw three males ducking down by the bushes, George said in a press release. All three were wearing bandanas.

Instead of getting out of her car, the woman notified the police and gave them a description of the suspects. Officers arrived on the scene and, after a foot pursuit, were able to capture two of the three suspects and to recover a bandana and a 9mm handgun, George stated.

During an interview with the two apprehended suspects, who are 13 and 14, George said, police were told that the three had planned to rob the woman once she exited her vehicle.

They charged the two juveniles with attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a firearm by a juvenile. They were being held at Chesapeake Juvenile Intake on Wednesday evening.

Police hope to arrest the person who disposed of the weapon in an area frequented by children, and they are asking for help from the public. Anyone who might know the subject should contact Crime Line at 1-888-Lock-U-Up. Crime Line callers do not have to give their names or appear in court. If a caller’s information leads to an arrest, the caller can qualify for a reward of up to $1,000.