The Troubling Trend of Teens Breaking Into Gun Stores

Across the country we’re seeing a rise in crimes committed by juveniles, including some very young offenders like the 11-year-old in Washington, D.C. accused of multiple armed robberies in Washington, D.C. I’ve also noticed a disturbing trend of kids being arrested for breaking into gun stores, with multiple incidents taking place over the past few days.

In Winchester, Indiana police say four juveniles broke into a gun shop on Saturday and then lead police on a chase that ended across the state line in Ohio before they were arrested.

Officers determined a vehicle had been used to crash into the front doors of the business, and “several firearms had been stolen,” according to a release.
Police then located “suspect vehicles,” and a chase lasting an estimated 40 minutes ensued. The pursuit eventually reached Greenville, Ohio, about 20 miles southeast of Winchester, and ended in Pittsburg, a village in Darke County about 12 miles southeast of Greenville.
Four juvenile suspects were taken into custody, Winchester police said.
WHIO-TV in Dayton reported at least two suspects apprehended were from the Dayton area, and were being held in a juvenile detention facility in Miami County, Ohio.

Just a few days prior, police in Cape Coral, Florida arrested a 14-year-old who tried to smash his way into a gun store, thankfully without success.

NBC2 cameras were rolling when Cape Coral Police, forensics, and even a Lee County Sheriff’s Office helicopter were called to the gun store off of Skyline Boulevard at around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday.
Officers located a Kia matching the description of the vehicle at the scene traveling at a high speed near the store’s location. The vehicle was speeding and traveling in the opposite lanes of traffic; ultimately, the vehicle lost the officers following.
Officers then saw a damaged traffic sign near where the car was last seen and followed the fresh vehicle fluids, trailing to the suspect vehicle abandoned in a nearby dead-end. It appeared the vehicle’s ignition was also tampered with.

The teen was spotted hiding out near a canal not far away, and was taken into custody.

A few days before that incident it was Perry’s Gun Shop in Wendell, North Carolina that was the target of a break-in, and once again when police caught up with the suspects they found at least one minor involved.

Surveillance video captured the entire thing. That video couldn’t be shared with CBS 17 because of the ongoing investigation, but the president of the company, Hannah Perry-Hopkins, described what she saw on the video.
“A couple of guys, a car full of guys, showed up, got a couple of armfuls in and out,” she said.
She’s talking about an armful of guns and ammunition. Perry-Hopkins says there were four men in the car involved in the burglary. She says they used rocks to break the glass on a door, and then climbed through bars to get into the business.
… Officers responded to a call of breaking and entering at the shop at around 3 a.m. Suspects were seen fleeing from the business in a vehicle, and Wendell officers pursued the vehicle until it entered Johnston County.
Deputies from the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office then took over the pursuit until the vehicle re-entered Wake County. The Wake County Sheriff’s Office then also became involved.
The pursuit finally ended near the Interstate 40/I-440 split, where a juvenile suspect was taken into custody.

There’s no quick or easy solution here, but the best place to start is within the juvenile justice system itself. Far too often juvenile offenses result in a slap on the wrist and a quick return to the streets, as was the case with the 11-year-old armed robber in Washington, D.C. If teens know that the consequences of their crimes are going to be few and far between, it stands to reason that they’re going to be emboldened to repeat their offenses again and again, and right now there seems to be a distinct lack of urgency on the part of policymakers to crack down on juvenile offenders. In most Democratic strongholds it’s law-abiding gun owners and firearms retailers who are blamed for these crimes, with new restrictions and prohibitions aimed at putting gun stores out of business instead of working to put teen burglars behind bars and provide them with the help they need to hopefully turn their lives around before their crimes progress even further. That’s a recipe for disaster; not just for our Second Amendment rights but for the safety of the public at large as well. We don’t need to lock up a 14-year-old for the rest of his life for participating in a gun store break-in, but they should be facing something other than probation and an ankle monitor if there’s any chance at all of rehabilitation, which is the ostensible goal of the juvenile justice system.

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