On Friday the Brazil City Police Department released information to The Brazil Times about a rash of vehicles broken into Tuesday morning.
According to Police Chief Terry Harrison, shortly before 5 a.m., Tuesday, Patrolman Jeff Bucklin, II was investigating a report by a Brazil resident who said someone left the doors of their vehicle open when he caught two juveniles crawling out of a vehicle located on Illinois St.
A 16-year-old female and a 15-year-old male were immediately detained.
Only 10-15 residents reported their vehicles tampered with, but, upon questioning with their parents present, the two juveniles voluntarily admitted to authorities they had gotten into 20-40 vehicles before being caught.
"They said they were bored," Harrison said about the reason the juveniles gave for their criminal activity. "They were just taking anything they could get their hands on for quick cash."
The two juveniles appeared before Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout on multiple counts of theft and criminal mischief. Trout ordered the juveniles to be detained at an undisclosed state juvenile detention facility until a hearing could be scheduled on the court calendar next week.
Det. Clint McQueen said the case would remain open in case other victims need to make reports.
"People might not realize things are missing from their vehicle for a few days," McQueen said. "Even though a few days have passed, I urge people who think they may have been a victim to contact the police department and make a report."
Although curfew violations are down because officers are detaining, citing and returning juveniles caught out after curfew to their parents, Harrison admits it is an ongoing problem.
"A juvenile just shouldn't be out that late. It is distressing for officers to deal with situations where there is a lack of parental guidance or the parents just don't care," Police Chief Terry Harrison said about teenagers reportedly roaming around the city in the early hours of the morning. "People need to realize that enforcing the curfew cuts back on illegal activity and protects the safety of the juvenile and residents."
Indiana Code 31-37-3-2 states that a law enforcement officer can write a citation and/or place in custody a minor child without a legal guardian present who is:
* 15 or younger in a public place after 11 p.m. any day of the week,
* 16 or 17 in a public place after 11 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and
* 16 or 17 in a public place after 1 a.m., Saturday and Sunday.
The code states the only legal defense for a minor to be out beyond designated curfew is if they are participating in, going to or returning from gainful employment, attending a school-sanctioned event, a religious or nonprofit event, or involved in an emergency situation.
If a juvenile continues to be caught in violation of the curfew law, Harrison said officers could present a report to the Clay County Juvenile Probation Department for review and potential charges in the family/juvenile division of Clay Circuit Court.
"I encourage residents who see juveniles out after curfew to report it to the department," Harrison said. "We will enforce the curfew even if some people don't like it."