Two 13-year-olds in California were selling lemonade on Wednesday at $1 a glass. A man walked by and said he dropped his dollar on his run, and they gave him a free cup. He walked away, and then sprinted back, toppled over the stand, and grabbed the turquoise box containing their profits — $20 — and a wallet with $10 inside. The police quickly tracked down an 18-year-old suspect. The girls told an NBC affiliate in Los Angeles that their fledgling business would remain shuttered for now.
It’s apparently lemonade-stand-robbery season; this incident was the second theft to hit the nation’s youngest small-business owners this month. In Minnesota, an 8-year-old’s very elaborate and heavy lemonade stand disappeared in the night. “Since I don’t have my lemonade stand anymore,” she told Fox9, “I can’t make people happy.”
Lemonade-stand adversity is not a new problem. In June, police officers shut down a lemonade stand in Texas because they didn’t have a permit. Last year, a Florida man emailed City Hall several times to complain about a lemonade stand four doors down from his house. He thought the business might hurt his property value. The planning and development director in Dunedin, Florida, told the Tampa Bay Times, “We are not out there trying to put lemonade stands out of business.”
Two years ago, a 12-year-old with a BB gun robbed a boy selling lemonade in order to save money for a Playstation 2. When an 18-year-old stole $17.50 from a lemonade stand in 2010, the 12-year-old he robbed had one response for the local media: “That’s just low.”