“For those who say that juveniles who commit crimes should be treated as ‘troubled children,’ and not held accountable for their actions by the criminal justice system, they are flat-out wrong,” Judd said. “Criminal juveniles, especially, need to be held accountable early, because if they are not, they will learn a very bad lesson — that our criminal justice system is not serious.”
Judd said he hopes to send that strong message out to the two juveniles who got arrested on Tuesday by Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Auburndale Police Officers. It happened early in the morning on Tuesday, when the two juveniles got arrested after being accused of committing several crimes, noted Carrie Eleazer, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in her report on the case.
“Both are repeat offenders, and one was violating his probation when they committed the crimes,” Eleazer said.
It started around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, when the homeowner at a residence at Woodland Trail in Auburndale heard a noise outside his home. The homeowner would later tell deputies that it sounded like someone was jumping over his chain link fence.
When he went outside, he confronted the two teens, who quickly started riding away on bicycles they had stolen from under his carport.
The homeowner called law enforcement, and reported that the teens were heading toward Oakland Road.
Responding to the call, sheriff’s deputies began setting up a perimeter in that area, and the search for the bike thieves had started. Around the same time, Auburndale Police got a call about a burglary in progress to a boathouse at 1306 Lake Ariana Boulevard. The caller told officers it was being committed by two teenagers — with bicycles.
Sheriff’s deputies and Auburndale police officers quickly went to the boathouse, and when they arrived, the two suspects attempted to flee – by swimming.
The deputies “saw one suspect already in the water, and one suspect diving into the water,” Eleazer said. “Both were attempting to evade law enforcement. The stolen bikes were nearby.”
Law enforcement, though, had tools at its disposable to heighten the chase. With the assistance of the sheriff’s office helicopter, both suspects were caught within the perimeter set up by deputies and officers. At that point, both surrendered.
“After they were placed under arrest, the owner of the bikes responded to the scene and positively identified the bikes as his,” Eleazer said. “Deputies turned the bikes back over to the victim.”
It can be common sometimes for people taken into custody to cooperate with law enforcement. Eleazor and Judd said that wasn’t quite the case here.
“Neither of the suspects were cooperative with the officers and deputies,” Eleazer said. “Both were loud, profane and unruly, and refused to answer questions.”
The two suspects were taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center and charged with one count each of arson — they are accused of burning wire that had been securing a paddle boat to the dock in an attempt to steal the boat – burglary, resisting arrest, and criminal mischief.
Fifteen-year-old Bo Ricks, of 605 Marianna Road in Auburndale is currently on probation for burglary, and had been arrested in February for felony grand theft of a motor vehicle. He was also charged with violation of probation.
Judd said these two are a shining example of the notion that even juveniles need to experience the tough consequences of violating the law — in the hope that it can lead to an attitude adjustment.
“When these two ‘kids’ were arrested early this morning, they were rude, using profanity, and uncooperative,” Judd said. “Both of them are known to law enforcement in the Auburndale area as suspects in various thefts, and both of them have criminal histories.”