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14-year-old and 12-year-old charged in connection with Atlantic City Boardwalk store owner's death
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14-year-old and 12-year-old charged in connection with Atlantic City Boardwalk store owner's death

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{child_flags:top_story}2 charged in robbery linked to merchant death

{child_byline}MOLLY SHELLY

Staff Writer

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ATLANTIC CITY — A 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, both from Atlantic City, were charged Friday in connection with the death of a Boardwalk shop owner Thursday night.

Mehmood Ansari died Thursday night after an altercation with the two juveniles, authorities said.

Ansari was 65 and owned City Souvenirs for more than 30 years, according to his sons Asif and Kashif Ansari.

Asif and Kashif tearfully remembered their father Friday afternoon during a protest held by the Atlantic City Merchants Association outside the store.

“He was the heart of Atlantic City,” Asif said. “Everybody loved him. He did good things for his city, and he wanted to do so much more.”

The protest drew a crowd of nearly 100 store owners, community members and elected officials.

Attendees gathered to mourn Ansari while demanding more protection from city officials and law enforcement.

“He was (an) uncle to me, he was just like a father, for 25 years,” Habib Rehmen, secretary of the merchant association, told the crowd. “He was killed by hatred, by the lack of the protection from the local city, you call it security? You call it police? We don’t give a damn what you call, he was killed here yesterday.”

Amer Kashmiri, president of the merchants association, said the Boardwalk’s store owners have complained to the city multiple times about harassment and theft.

“This is not the first time we are talking with Mr. Mayor and police,” Kashmiri said. “We meet with all of the city officials and the city police, so far, promises and promises.”

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Kashmiri said the merchants just want to be protected.

“We sit here all year round and give service to the people, but we don’t get protection,” Kashmiri said. “We’re just asking for more protection, that’s all we need.”

Asif Ansari spoke directly to Mayor Marty Small Sr. about the loss of his father, who wanted to address the issue of harassment and theft toward the merchant community.

“The city cannot bring my father back,” Asif said. “He wanted to do so many things better for the city. That’s how he lost his life. ”

Small spoke directly to the crowd.

“Listen, it’s not acceptable,” Small said. “This isn’t a Black city, this isn’t a white city, we are all one city together. It’s unfortunate what happened. The matter has been turned over to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with our Police Department. We want to continue to hold everyone accountable that commits crimes. ... Senseless violence has no place in our community. And I’m sure that the police are going to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Small told the crowd they will “do a better job.”

In a statement Friday, Atlantic City police interim Officer-in-Charge James Sarkos said the department “is aware of the concerns and complaints from the business community regarding juveniles. As the weather turns warmer, the Atlantic City Police Department will work and coordinate with businesses along our famous Boardwalk and retail areas.”

Police responded to City Souvenirs, in the 1500 block of the Boardwalk, at 7:41 p.m. Thursday for a report of a male with a knife. Personnel at the police Surveillance Center advised officers that multiple juveniles were damaging the store and assaulting people, according to a news release from the Prosecutor’s Office. While attempting to steal items, the 12-year-old brandished a knife and threatened the store owner.

Responding officers arrested the 12-year-old and the 14-year-old. Shortly after the arrival of officers, Ansari collapsed and stopped breathing. A bystander initiated CPR, which was taken over by Officer Joseph Kelly and then medical personnel, the Prosecutor’s Office said. Ansari was transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, where he was pronounced dead.

The 12-year-old is charged with two counts of robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, simple assault, shoplifting, terroristic threats and conspiracy. He is being held at the Harborfields Juvenile Detention Facility in Egg Harbor City.

The 14-year-old is charged with robbery, simple assault, shoplifting and conspiracy. She was released to a parent’s custody pending court.

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Contact Molly Shelly:

609-272-7241

mshelly@pressofac.com

Twitter @mollycshelly

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