Crime Tracker: Juvenile Burglars

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By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

JACKSON COUNTY— Carbondale Police have been busy following a string of car and home burglaries but not by the usual suspects.

There's typically a spike in crime during the summer months, since more people are out and about. Police say a group of teens have been wreaking havoc on the northwest side of town.

Cellphone video from last Saturday night shows juveniles caught by police, near McDaniel and Oakland streets. Officers arrested two; six others got away.

“Several times we've had our vehicle entered so we don't even bother locking them. There’s nothing in them anymore,” Ernie Krummich recalled.

It's nothing new for him; he's seen it all while living in Carbondale for 30 years.

“I think we had 25 mirrors that were broken off cars all up and down the street. They got my son’s car. His car’s been vandalized half a dozen times,” added Krummich.

Most recently, his neighbor's home was burglarized, and a television stolen. He's not surprised the latest suspects are under 18.

“They're not all bad. What you're dealing with is a gang influence and you've got these young kids and that’s what they've got to look at,” Krummich said.

Clarence Thomas lives nearby and has heard of a fight close to his home.  

“Everything else has been break in the house, take something and leave. Targets of opportunity, that’s the best way to put it,” Thomas advised.

Carbondale Police Chief Jody O'Guinn agrees. Most of the victims left their vehicles or homes unlocked; cars with keys in the ignition disappeared too.

“In these high traffic, high foot traffic areas, it’s very easy to slip into somebody's vehicle that's left open and running and drive off with it in just a few minutes,” O’Guinn explained.

To combat the burglary spree, officers are stepping up patrols in the problem areas. These non-violent crimes, though, divert the focus from other issues that need their attention.

Police aren't giving up until those teens have been apprehended. The best way to protect yourself is common sense: keeping your doors and windows locked.

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