By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
A casual walk through Westport turned into a terrifying experience for a teenager from West Virginia visiting Kansas City for a conference after he was robbed at knife point.
SkillsUSA returned to Kansas City on Monday through Friday for the 49th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of career and technical education students. During Friday's closing ceremonies, most competitors in the crowd were celebrating a great week in Kansas City spent showing off their abilities and networking with potential employers.
But a 17-year-old is likely more excited to be heading home after police said he was robbed at knife point Thursday night.
Police said he was staying at the Holiday Inn Express located near Clark Avenue and Westport Road while in town for the SkillsUSA conference and had gone out to explore shops in the area. He made it to a frozen yogurt shop blocks away at Westport Road and Broadway when he told police three men slammed him against a wall, pulled a knife on him and demanded cash.
The teen handing over a $100 bill and the three men ran off. He wasn't hurt, but the boy was so distraught he got lost and spent an hour looking for a phone to call police.
"Well I was surprised because we've been in Kansas City for about 20 years and this is an incident that really is very rare. We aren't used to having any mishaps in Kansas City," said Tom Holdsworth, the associate executive director for SkillsUSA.
Holdsworth said police have been great over the years helping to add extra security to protect participants. He's upset a student was attacked, but is also determined not to let one bad incident ruin a week of successful competition.
"It's been a tremendous week and we are looking forward to coming back for our 21st year," he said.
Fans of the Westport entertainment district echoed sentiments, hoping the teenager doesn't get the wrong idea about Kansas City.
"I would hope he doesn't have a bad impression and let this reflect on the city as a whole. Kansas City's crime is a lot less than other places," Bret Hamilton said.
The head of the West Virginia delegation for the conference said the boy is still really shaken up.
Police are still searching for the robbers.
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