Man is accused of robbing girl for drug money


PHILADELPHIA -- He thought he'd pick on someone his own size.

After raiding an 8-year-old's lemonade stand for $30 in change, police say, unemployed Brian Burns decided he'd snatch a purse from an unsuspecting pedestrian to support his drug habit.

But police say officers recognized him Thursday as the ponytailed ruffian described by third-grader Ami Reader, of Blackwood, N.J.

The arrest capped an exciting week for young Ami, who has been the center of media attention since her run-in with a thief.

She has received hundreds of dollars in donations from local charities and well-wishers, and she might even have an appearance coming on the tabloid television show "Hard Copy."

"I'm somewhat mad at him," Ami said. "But I'm glad they got him. I was never really scared, though."

Police said that once at headquarters, Burns, who is 30, admitted snatching $30 in nickels, dimes and quarters from a makeshift cash box in Ami's front yard last weekend.

Burns faces charges ranging from strong-arm robbery to theft; he was being held in Camden County Jail.

Pub Date: 9/14/97

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