2 teenage girls charged with assault and robbery in Harlem

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Two 13-year-old girls are under arrest for violent attacks in Upper Manhattan.

The attacks happened in Morningside Park in mid-April in broad daylight.

"It's a random thing that happened to him - we have no evidence of a bias or robbery or anything," said John, whose husband Bob was violently attacked.

Investigators aren't so sure who assaulted Bob, but they have charged the two 13-year-olds, the leaders of an assault and robbery crew made up of young girls of similar ages. Police have linked them to four violent assaults - the first one on April 11th in parts of Harlem, including the Grant Houses.

"They need to get their lives together. You know at 13, you're going to begin violence?" says Phillip Penepede.

Police say the suspects' targets were young females with cellphones.

The latest assault was Saturday night, right off of busy Amsterdam Avenue. The two young girls assaulted a 40-year-old woman with a wooden stick.

With two arrests in the book, detectives say there are more to come, possibly up to 20.

Neighbors like John are saying this crime spree is a much deep-rooted problem.

"This was a social problem, not a crime. Problem is, we don't think police are the solution, we think the solution is the community versus giving more resources to our youth," he said.
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