Janesville teen arrested 5 times in 4 months
JANESVILLE Wednesday was the fifth time since June that Janesville police arrested a 16-year-old Janesville boy and referred him to juvenile authorities.
The boy has been arrested on several theft charges after reports of multiple car break-ins around the city. He was a suspect in other incidents but not arrested.
In no case was he detained at the Rock County Youth Services Center after arrest, according to Janesville Police Department records.
That's not as surprising as it might sound, said Dan Niedfeldt, the assistant Rock County district attorney who handles juvenile cases.
Police and youth services workers don't have black and white rules that dictate whether teens are detained after crimes, he said.
"There are so many different things that come into play," Niedfeldt said. "Even the severity of the offense. It might offend some people. Others might just say it's a misdemeanor, not such a big deal.
"It's hard to set a rule that a kid should be put in custody based on a number of crimes."
Janesville police Deputy Chief Dan Davis said five arrests in four months is "certainly on the high side, but I wouldn't call it unprecedented."
What is more unusual is that the crimes were so regularly thefts, Davis said. Juvenile offenders usually aren't so consistent when committing crimes, he said.
When police officers in Rock County take a juvenile into custody, police typically call the youth services center, formerly known as juvenile detention, and alert a youth services worker, Niedfeldt said. Workers use a set of criteria to help them decide if the juvenile should or can be detained.
If the juvenile is detained, a judge holds a hearing to decide if the detention should continue while the case is pending.
Being a suspect in a rash of car break-ins is something that is sure to concern the public, Niedfeldt said. In many cases, juveniles are taken in to custody on suspicion of violent crimes, but the cases go unnoticed because they affect a family, not a neighborhood or a city, he said.
"Is that kid (suspected of car break-ins) more dangerous than a kid that is running away all the time?" Niedfeldt said.
"Is a kid who's breaking into cars more dangerous compared to the kid who runs away and then blows up and pulls a knife on mom or dad when confronted at home about it? People tend to not get so upset about it because it doesn't affect the neighborhood."
A 16-year-old Janesville boy has been arrested five times since June. Many of the arrests were the result of reports of car break-ins around Janesville.
Here is what happened, according to Janesville Police Department records:
June 23: The boy is arrested on suspicion of theft and curfew violation after thefts from cars are reported in the area of Foster Avenue and Norwood Road. Reported stolen are a flashlight, a woman's bracelet, gloves and a baggie of quarters.
Police release the boy to his mother.
July 6: The boy is arrested on Harrison Street and referred to juvenile authorities on charges of burglary, two counts of theft and possession of burglary tools and theft after car break-ins on Harrison Street. After a short foot pursuit, police find a GPS, some loose change and tools.
The boy is intoxicated, so he cannot be detained at the Rock County Youth Service Center. He is released to his mother.
Aug. 22: The boy arrested at Atwood and St. Lawrence avenues and is referred to juvenile authorities on charges of party to theft, disorderly conduct and underage drinking. He and a 17-year-old Janesville teen are stopped by U.S. Secret Service agents when they try to carry off a traffic barricade near the home of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
The other teen is detained at the youth service center. The 16-year-old is released to his mother.
Sept. 9: The boy is reported to be in possession of synthetic marijuana at school. No arrest is made.
Sept. 14: An informant shares copies of the boy's emails with police. At least one email references a Gazette report about June 19 car thefts on Stafford Road.
No arrest is made.
Sept. 23: The boy taken into custody at King and La Fayette streets and referred to juvenile authorities on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, receiving stolen property, theft and a curfew violation. Police find a marijuana pipe, a backpack containing CDs, an X-Acto knife, a computer thumb drive, Mickey Mouse earmuffs and lighters.
He is not held in juvenile detention.
Sept. 26: The boy is taken into custody in the 100 block of River Street and referred to juvenile authorities on charges of obstructing and resisting. Police find loose change and bills.