Dayonn Davis was 15 years old when he stole a coveted pair of Nike sneakers the owner tried to sell on Facebook.
Now 18, he’s going to spend five years in prison and 10 on probation – over a pair of shoes.
“I don’t get that,” Judge Bobby Peters said this week as he sentenced the teenager for robbery. “Must be some valuable shoes.”
They were Nike Oreos, so named for their black and white color, and sometimes priced at more than $100.
According to prosecutor Sadhana Dailey, Davis made contact with the owner after seeing the shoes for sale on Facebook. They arranged to meet Jan. 17, 2016, at Columbus’ Shirley B. Winston Park, 5025 Steam Mill Road.
Another male accompanied Davis to the rendezvous, where Davis asked to try on the shoes. Finding they fit, he told the seller, “These shoes is took.”
Davis’ companion then pulled out a pistol, and everyone ran.
But Columbus police quickly tracked Davis down, and found the stolen shoes in his closet.
Dailey said Davis initially would not name the second suspect, though eventually he did. The victim, however, could not identify the person Davis named as the gunman when shown a photo lineup.
In court this week, defense attorney Susan Henderson told Peters her client, who was charged as an adult, had no previous juvenile record.
“He’s been extremely remorseful,” she said, adding Davis wants to put the matter behind him and move on. “He’s got his life on track now.”
She said Davis had been an A and B student at Kendrick High School, before his grades dropped after his arrest. She maintained he had no idea the guy with him would pull a gun that day.
Davis told Peters he made an immature mistake: “I was young at the time, so I wasn’t in my right mind.”
His mother also spoke, telling Peters her son had “been with the wrong person.”
Peters was unwilling to accept that: “Maybe he’s the wrong person,” the judge said of Davis. “He’s the one with the shoes in his closet.”
Whether or not Davis intended for anyone to pull a gun, he obviously planned to take the shoes, because he set up the meeting, Peters said.
Now a teen who had no record will go to prison – for a pair of shoes, the judge said.
Assistant Police Chief Gil Slouchick said Thursday that kids’ being robbed of sneakers is not unusual now, and hasn’t been for some time.
“I think it’s because the value of the shoes has gone up,” he said, noting high-end athletic shoes today can be worth hundreds of dollars. “It’s something now that’s worth more than it used to be.”
A generation or two ago, such shoes were not so pricey, and not worth the risk of going to jail for robbery.
Not anymore: “Tennis shoes are expensive nowadays,” Slouchick said, so thieves prize them as much as any other costly item they can get. “I guess it’s because of the expense.”