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Lemonade Sale To Benefit 74-Year-Old Robbery Victim

Jenna Carlesso

August 21, 2010

Pastor Sam Saylor stood alongside Blue Hills Avenue on Friday, shouting at passing motorists to stop and buy some lemonade.

He and a member of his church youth group found a sweet way to help out the victim of a recent robbery: selling lemonade to raise enough money to replace what was stolen from her.

Nearly two weeks ago, a 74-year-old woman was withdrawing cash from an ATM at Bank of America on Blue Hills Avenue when two men robbed her at gunpoint. They took her gold chain with a cross pendant and $20, police have said.

The news stunned Saylor, who preaches about peace and kindness at the Blackwell Memorial A.M.E Zion Church just up the street from the bank. He and Asha Follins, a 16-year-old parishioner, set up a lemonade stand in front of the bank Friday as a way to turn a negative memory into a positive one. The sign in front of the stand read "Thirst Against Thugs."

"It makes me feel bad," Saylor said. "I'm angry that people can't come out of their homes and get a little bit of money without being robbed."

His goal was to raise enough funds to buy the woman a new gold cross necklace, and an additional $20.

Within 15 minutes after the lemonade stand opened, he and Follins had collected nearly $20. By the end of the day, they raised more than $220.

Saylor said the staff at Anderson Jewelers in East Hartford has agreed to work with him on a price for a cross necklace within the range of what he raised.

"This was an opportunity to combat the bad with some sense of good and show [the victim] that there are good people out here," he said.

Follins talked into a cellphone Friday as she poured one customer a glass of lemonade.

"We're selling lemonade on Blue Hills. Come on down here and spread the word," she said. Two of her friends came along to help.

"Even if it's not like everyone's doing it just a small group it still makes a difference," Follins said.

Though Saylor and Follins haven't met the robbery victim, they said they hope to present her with the necklace and cash. The Hartford Police Department is serving as a liaison between the volunteers and the victim.

"It just shows how the community is committed. I'm humbled," said Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts, who stopped by the stand. "I'd like to see it more often."

Police are still searching for the suspects who robbed the woman. Both were described as black males between 20 and 30 years old with black hair. One weighed about 160 pounds and wore a black hooded sweatshirt with black jeans. The other was about 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, and wore a black T-shirt and black jeans, police said. One of the suspects carried a black revolver with a brown handle.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Sgt. Rob Davis Jr. of the Hartford Police Department's Major Crimes Division at 860-757-4256.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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