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Illinois community steps in after lemonade stand robbed at gunpoint

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PEORIA (WEEK) - It was on Friday when two 13-year-old boys running a lemonade stand were robbed, apparently at gunpoint, in Peoria's East Bluff.

Just before 5pm on August 7, two males approached Jude Peterson and his friends as they sold lemonade on the corner of California and Forest Hill in Peoria. In video provided by a neighbor, a male in a dark hoodie, who was described as a teenager, moves fast, displaying what looks to be a firearm. The male then quickly snatches the boys' cash box, running off with $30.

Nathan, Jude's father, said at first, he was horrified. Nathan was in his basement when his wife called down to him, saying she had been told the boys were jumped.

"I just almost blacked out a little bit, like I felt my body running up the stairs, but for just a moment, it was pretty intense," said Peterson.

Luckily, everybody was okay, just a bit shaken up. What really moved Nathan is how his neighbors responded. People wanted to help in any way they could. Some folks even bought a glass of lemonade for $20, after they heard what happened.

"One guy in particular, he came back like a half hour later and he had all these bags of chips and candy and everything...he's like hey you can sell this at your stand, and helped set it up," said Peterson.

The community also offered emotional support for the boys.

"So many people just stopped and said things to the boys like 'don't quit', 'don't let this discourage you," he added.

For now, he also hopes something is done for those who committed the crime.

"I think it would be good for them to be held responsible in a way that feels congruent with the crime, and I would love for them to be treated with some care, just what is the need these kids were trying to provide for?" said Peterson.

If you wish to support Jude and his friends, donations can be sent via PayPal.

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