Two teenage brothers extort cash from eighth grader

Less than an hour before Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter discussed the rise in crimes among youth that had previously been seen only among adults, Jerusalem investigators were horrified to discover that two teenage brothers had extorted tens of thousands of shekels from a fellow student. Juvenile crimes detectives said they believe the brothers forced a schoolmate to pay them over NIS 46,000, threatening they would hurt him if he refused. The two suspects, aged 14 and 17, allegedly began their campaign of terror after their eighth-grade victim arrived at school with a laptop computer that his parents had bought him. The victim, desperate for money to pay off the brothers, allegedly took his mother's credit card and used it to withdraw money from her bank account. Over a couple of months, police say, the boy racked up tens of thousands of shekels worth of charges, and then turned the cash over to the two budding extortionists. Police said Tuesday that on one occasion, when the boy did not hand over cash, the two beat and stabbed him. The two assailants said in their defense that they did not extort the money from the youth, but that he gave them the cash out of the goodness of his heart. The remand of the older brother was extended by two days Tuesday in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, and the younger brother will appear before the court on Wednesday for a remand extension.