A 13-year-old boy who was arrested in connection with a series of armed-robbery attempts was on the path to destruction long before cops nabbed him in a West Philadelphia deli Wednesday morning.
The boy, who's known as "Jon-Jon," confessed to pulling a gun on at least five people — including this Daily News reporter — in the area of Chestnut Street between 46th and 47th this week.
"No matter how much experience you have as a detective, it's still strange to hear a kid who just turned 13 years old confessing to gunpoint robberies, you know?" said Detective Joe Murray.
The baby-faced teen expressed remorse, but seemed otherwise unemotional about finding himself in a holding cell, police said.
"He's a little too comfortable back there in a holding cell," said Detective Freddie Mole after Jon-Jon was identified by four victims. "He's not scared. He's sleeping. He's very comfortable being in custody."
He's been arrested twice for robbery and cited for disorderly conduct, but the detectives still hope that another stint in juvenile detention and a round of counseling will set him on the right track.
When he was 11, Jon-Jon was arrested on charges of robbery, simple assault and other offenses after he and two other boys, ages 10 and 11, attacked a 13-year-old boy on Chestnut Street near 44th, according to an arrest report.
Three months later, he was cited for disorderly conduct when he walked into a classroom at the Universal Bluford Charter School, began throwing pencils and crayons and made threatening gestures toward a teacher before throwing a chair at the door, according to Municipal Court records.
In August 2011, Jon-Jon approached an 11-year-old boy as he rode his bicycle on 45th Street near Sansom, pushed him off and pedaled away, according to an arrest report. Cops found him riding the stolen bike on Baltimore Avenue near 50th Street and arrested him for a second time within little more than a year.
In April, Jon-Jon's brother, Laquam Smith, 20, was arrested for his alleged involvement in a February shooting death in Juniata Park.
Now, Jon-Jon faces five counts of robbery and weapons violations, cops said.
"I hope he gets the help he needs because this isn't the life he wants to have," Murray said. "I mean, 13 years old and you know the ins and outs of a police station? It's just not normal."
The teen told police that the silver gun he whipped out during the attempted robberies was actually a BB gun. Police didn't find it on the boy when they arrested him on Farragut Street near Chestnut. He told police that he slipped it into his mother's purse before he left their high-rise apartment building on Holden Street near Market.
Police were preparing a warrant to search the apartment Wednesday afternoon and had not yet talked with the mother.