Before teen charged for two armed robberies, Reverend says he passed up second chance

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Months before Joseph Jenkins was arrested for armed robbery in West Ashley he crossed paths with Reverend Michael Wright Sr. Wright says the two met in his garage. The only thing wrong with this picture? Wright says Jenkins was attempting to steal his bicycle.

Reverend Wright says he just finished helping his wife unpack the groceries and started making his way outside, when he says he noticed Jenkins making his way into his garage.

"When I first came out I stood there and said, 'What are you doing in my garage?' and he took my bike and threw it at me," says Wright. "When he threw it at me I backed up...and tried to chase him out...but I didn't have a chance."

It all ended with police catching those involved and making arrests, but it's what happened next that's extraordinary.

"I called the Solicitor's office and told them I was dropping charges," says Wright. "I wanted to help those young boys."

Wright says he was approached by the boys mother and was asked to drop the charges. In return, Wright says he wanted to counsel the boy, bring him to Sunday school at his Church and give him a male, father figure in his life.

But that second chance, he says, was passed up.

Now the Reverend feels guilty about his decision to drop the charges but is convinced he tried to do the right thing.

"You try to change the world, you try to change people," says Wright. "If you can get one person, one child, you feel like you've done everything required of you. I was trying to get that one."

The number to the Jenkins' home was disconnected, so there's no word on why the boys decided not to accept the Reverend's offering.

But one thing is for sure. Reverend Wright says he will be at Jenkins' first court appearance, July 8, and won't be offering any second chances. In fact, he'll be trying to put him behind bars.

Authorities charged Joseph Jenkins with the April 17 armed robbery at the Cypress Cove Apartments. Jenkins has already been charged for the April 22 armed robbery at the apartment complex.

Copyright WCSC 2011. All rights reserved.