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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Young Teens Charged In Connection With Multiple Stolen Vehicles

TimStrong Squad 204 police pfpd
The #TimStrong Squad 204 of the Park Forest Police Department. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Two young teens were arrested and charged in connection with multiple stolen vehicles, one was reportedly taken at gunpoint, Park Forest Police announced Tuesday.

According to police, on Monday, July 18, 2022, just before 1:00 AM, Park Forest Police investigated a stolen vehicle that had been left running in front of a business in the 400 block of Sauk Trail. Shortly after 9:00 AM, that vehicle was reported as driving recklessly and struck a house on Wildwood Street, with two males running from the stolen car, according to police. The two suspects were taken into custody thanks to information and descriptions provided by witnesses after a prolonged search and foot chase, police said.

The two suspects are both Park Forest residents, ages 13 and 14, police said. Both of the young teens had prior cases filed in the Juvenile Court of Cook County related to stolen vehicles, and both were arrested in connection with this case, police said.

The investigation into this incident and their other recent activity resulted in the 13-year-old being charged with:

  • Aggravated vehicular hijacking and trespass to a vehicle, these charges related to a crime on July 11, 2022, in which police allege he took a car at gunpoint;
  • Possession of a stolen motor vehicle, trespass to a vehicle and resisting a peace officer in connection with the crime on July 18, 2022.

The 14-year-old was charged with:

  • Vehicular hijacking, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, battery, and criminal trespass to a vehicle in connection with a crime that occurred on July 1, 2022, in which a delivery driver was allegedly struck and her vehicle taken;
  • Possession of a stolen motor vehicle and trespass to a vehicle in connection with a crime on July 14, 2022, in which a running vehicle was stolen from in front of a business;
  • Possession of a stolen motor vehicle, trespass to a vehicle and resisting a peace officer in connection with the crime on July 18, 2022.

The young teens were not charged as adults, but some charges are felonies. Police Chief Paul Winfrey tells ENEWSPF, “The vehicular hijacking and possession of a stolen motor vehicle charges are all felonies. The trespass, battery, and resisting charges are misdemeanors. Both juveniles are charged as juveniles: there is no mechanism to charge them as adults.”

A vehicle young teens charged with stealing.,
A vehicle young teens were charged with stealing. (PFPD)

In addition to these charges, Park Forest Detectives are investigating these juveniles for possible involvement in other recent crimes, including additional stolen vehicles and vehicle break-ins. Both juveniles have previously been adjudicated “liable” through Park Forest’s Municipal Court for minor offenses and were assigned PFPD’s Youth Violence Prevention Engagement Program, which they failed to attend and/or complete, according to police.

Both juveniles were taken to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center and will appear before a Juvenile Court Judge on July 19, 2022. The Park Forest Police Department has expressed its strong desire to have these two juveniles detained and provided services to ensure the safety of the residents of Park Forest.

“The Park Forest Police Department has a longstanding dedication to the youth of our community: providing opportunities, events, relationships, referrals to social services, and support to youth in need or at risk,” police said.

“For individuals such as the two arrested on July 18th, those opportunities have been attempted and ignored, and the Juvenile Justice system must now step up to ensure the safety of all and attempt to deter/correct their criminal behavior,” police said.

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