Irondale police say one of the suspects accused of robbing several teens at a high school party held in a hotel is in custody.
Sgt. Jason Hill says suspect Gary Smith of Gate City saw that he was wanted on the news and turned himself in to Irondale police this morning.
Smith and three others are suspected of robbing seven teens at a party held at a hotel in Irondale Saturday night. The party began when a mother of a high school student rented a three bedroom hotel room at the Rime Garden Inn and Suites so her child could have a sleepover.
Sgt. Hill with Irondale PD says it started off as a small get together but the crowd quickly grew, reportedly once the mother left. Around 2 a.m. Sunday, four suspects busted into the hotel room and robbed seven of the teens, taking money, iPhones, purses and shoes, Hill said. The suspects also allegedly pistol-whipped a boy and a girl during the robbery.
The victims who were at the party are between the ages 14-17. Police say the suspects were a little older, and it's unclear if they knew the teens they robbed.
"It's all a network...the suspects knew the victims were at this party. I think they seized the
moment and took the opportunity," Hill said.
Sgt. Hill says officers did not find any drugs or alcohol in the hotel room and the students did not appear to be doing anything wrong. He also says the mom won't face any charges for renting the hotel room, but that it probably wasn't the smartest thing to leave the children unsupervised.
"It could be a random act, but then again when juveniles are left unsupervised, and one person calls, and that person calls 10 other people, and you think you're going to have only 25 or 30 show up to your party, and you have upwards of 100, and that's why parents need to be aware of what activities their children are engaged in," Hill said.
The only suspect identified by police so far is Gary Smith, who has been charged with first degree robbery and second degree assault.
Officers have spoken with seven victims but they believe there may be many more afraid to come forward.
"Then when you add in the factor of the ages of the victims and them being juveniles it can be very traumatic," Hill said.
are working with city councilors to draft an ordinance that would
prevent adults from renting hotel rooms to hold such a party as they one
Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive