Juvenile Car Thieves Have Been "Turned Loose" in Old Brooklyn After Arrest


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Car thief bragged he could steal a Jeep in three seconds. - EDMUNDS.COM
  • Edmunds.com
  • Car thief bragged he could steal a Jeep in three seconds.
Old Brooklyn residents are frustrated that two juveniles, aged 15 and 17, who were arrested in February for a spate of auto thefts in the neighborhood, have not been locked up.  
"Rest assured that they will be our first suspects if thefts in the area occur again," Commander Tom Stacho wrote in a community relations post on the CPD 2nd District's Facebook page. 

The juveniles, Stacho said, had stolen so many vehicles that they'd "lost track." Jeeps were their specialty. The 15-year-old bragged to police officers that he could steal a Jeep in three seconds once inside. 

And getting inside is far too easy in Old Brookyln.

Old Brooklyn Community Development Corp.'s outreach manager Barb Spaan, a woman who has been running block clubs for 25 years, says that often, people leave their doors unlocked because they don't want thieves to break their windows.

"But this kid — lovely kid — he just wanted a ride." Spaan told Scene over the phone. "He would steal a car, drive where he wanted to go, and then drop it off. We were finding these cars all over the place." 

Spaan said the officers were shaking their heads when the juvenile was regaling them with his feats. (Spaan is also an auxiliary officer and communicates regularly with zone cars. She helped convey information to officers which was critical to the arrest back on February 9). 

"He thinks he's infallible now. He's 15 years old," Spaan said, of the younger juvenile. "But he doesn't go to school. He's a criminal. He's going to be behind bars for the rest of his life and he doesn't care." 

Spaan said she suspected that because this was the first time the juveniles got caught, they weren't considered high-priority by the Juvenile Detention Center. 

"But they've been turned loose on the street again," she said. 

A police spokesperson confirmed to Scene that at the Juvenile Detention Center, generally only juveniles accused of violent crimes are housed in the facility. As for the Old Brooklyn Jeep thieves:

"[They're] 'processed,' which means their photos and fingerprints are taken and then officers release them to their parents or guardians." They will face a judge in juvenile court soon. 

A spokesperson for Cuyahoga County, which runs the Juvenile Detention Center, said she didn't have enough information to comment. 

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