Archive for Friday, August 5, 2005

Two Baldwin boys fess up to car theft, damage

August 5, 2005

Baldwin City police have solved the recent car theft which resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle and was handled as a hate crime because of racial overtones spray painted on the car.

Police Chief Mike McKenna said two Baldwin boys, both under the age of 14, were detained Thursday night and questioned in the incident. They were later released to their parents and will likely face charges in juvenile court.

"We've been working on it since the report," said McKenna, of the theft that occurred June 28. "I had suspects that we'd developed. We brought the first boy in yesterday around 5 o'clock and he admitted to his and the other boy's part in it.

"We picked him up later that night and finished it about 11 p.m.," he said.

According to McKenna, the boys took the car during the mid afternoon of June 28. Eventually, it was taken to a field south of Baldwin where it was damaged, along with other cars abandoned there. Also, the boys had been involved in the theft of a golf cart from Baker University.

"They took the car before they took the golf cart," said McKenna. "They are also responsible for another auto theft and damage outside of town."

The theft and damage to the car had been reported as a hate crime to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as required by law, because of the use of "MLK" spray painted on the car, which was taken from a minority. However, after interviewing the boys, McKenna doesn't think it was a hate crime.

"Not as much as I did," he said. "I think that it had racial overtones because of the exposure one of the boys had to a video of a rapper. It's a bad situation. I'm relieved to find out in one respect that it was young kids and not young adults."

The theft and damage was a two-day event.

"They stole the car from a parking lot at Baker and they thought it would be fun to take the car out and drive it," said McKenna. "Then they saw a police car and thought they might get caught. So, they drove it to a field and went back the next day and did the damage to it and other cars there.

"They confirmed that it took some time to do the damage to the car," he said.

McKenna said the case was broken open by continued work of all officers on the police department. He said everyone had a hand in the case.

"All the officers contributed to this case," he said. "It's exemplary of good team work."

McKenna said reports on the incident will be finished up and sent to the Douglas County Attorney's office. In the meantime, the boys are home.

"We've had meetings with the parents and they were released to their parents last night and we'll be finishing the reports and filing them with the DA."

The boys used a set of golf clubs that were in the car to smash out all the windows in the car and do extensive body damage to it in addition to the spray painting. The car was a total loss.

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