Five teens charged in auto burglary incident

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Five local juveniles are facing charges of auto burglary and possession of burglary tools, and one will face a charge of vandalism after an investigation into the theft of a radio from a car on Bluefield Avenue Tuesday night, according to investigators.
   According to reports, Elizabethton Police Department PTL Tonya Range was responding to a call to Lynnridge Apartments when the communication center gave a description of a car associated with the burglary, a 1985 Chevrolet Camaro with a gray fender, over the radio. EPD Capt. Rusty Verran was able to locate the car and stop it near the intersection of Siam Road and U.S. Highway 19E.
   The car was driven by a 17-year-old female and contained three male passengers, ages 15, 16 and 17, according to reports.
   A search of the vehicle turned up a Kenwood CD player valued at $500, a Jensen CD310X CD player valued at $150 and a Sony CDX-L350 CD player valued at $40, according to reports.
   Also found in the car were rubber gloves, a large screwdriver and a pair of scissors which were used in the crime, according to EPD Det. Jason McCall. It was the finding of these items that prompted officers to charge the juveniles with the possession of burglary tools.
   "If you are caught breaking into something, and you have those items (burglary tools), and it can be shown that you used those items to facilitate the crime, then you can be charged (with possession of burglary tools)," McCall said.
   After being stopped by Verran, the four juveniles from the car were taken to the police station for questioning. In addition to those four juveniles, charges have been filed against a fifth juvenile.
   "I obtained written confessions from all of them and they all mentioned him," said McCall. The fifth juvenile to be charged is a 16-year-old male.
   According to McCall, witnesses saw the incident that occurred at Lynnridge Apartments and notified police. Thomas Crowley, who lives in Lynnridge Apartments Building C-D, was one of the witnesses to the incident.
   "I heard a loud noise, and my son informed me of what was going on, and I went and woke up the car's owner," Crowley said, adding that he had seen two males "sitting in a car that didn't belong there."
   Crowley stated that after waking the owner of the car, Charles Hampton, the police were notified about the break-in and given a description of the vehicle that was seen by Crowley and his son.
   "By our quick actions, they were caught at the end of Siam Road and the four-lane," Crowley said.
   According to McCall, all five juveniles were to be charged in the incident on Wednesday.