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Suspect sought in robbery of 9-year-old at lemonade stand

MONROE, N.C. — A teenager who held up a 9-year-old lemonade stand vendor for $17 was at large Monday, and authorities said they hope to track him through surveillance videos and possible DNA and fingerprint tests.

Neighbors were asked to check their home security cameras for possible clues, said Tony Underwood, a spokesman for the Union County sheriff.

He said a camouflage hat and BB pistol, along with a metal cash box, was found in nearby woods and could be checked for fingerprints and DNA.

The lemonade seller 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.

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Neighbor Kelly Smith said she noticed the boy’s stand with its yellow sign offering ‘‘organic lemonade’’ at a traffic roundabout as she left to pick up her daughter at taekwondo class.

She said she intended to patronize the boy’s business when she returned, only to find him gone and a half-dozen patrol cars on her street. ‘‘It’s heart-wrenching. That little boy will never be the same,’’ Smith said.

Resident James Castellano said he bought a drink from the boy Saturday and took one of the boy’s business cards. It describes him as an ‘‘organic lemonade stand operator, designer, dog walker, reptile caregiver, lawn mower, professional ring bearer.’’

The 9-year-old set up his lemonade stand again at the neighborhood pool on Sunday and did a brisk business, Smith said.