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Brothers, 12 and 13, in court for car thefts

May 03, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Two Hagerstown brothers, ages 12 and 13, who stole two cars in four days and, in one incident, drove to Lebanon, Pa., were found delinquent Wednesday in Washington County Juvenile Court.

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The Hagerstown victim of a related April 3 burglary and attempted car theft told Judge John H. McDowell that she and her family no longer feel safe in their West End home.

"In order for these boys to become healthy adults, they need to have positive role models now," the woman said, suggesting the boys be removed from their home for a couple of years in order to achieve that.

"Life is funny ... you don't know what they (boys) are going to do tomorrow," their father said. "They were raised in the church and everybody is praying for them."

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A Washington County Board of Education representative reported that the 12-year-old has had 16 absences from school and been tardy 34 times.

His disruptive behavior, which used to be a problem at school, has improved with medication, and he is passing most of his classes, the representative said.

The 13-year-old has accumulated 29 1/2 absences, been tardy 16 times and is failing his classes. Teacher comments in his file point to disrespect, disruption in class and sexually inappropriate comments resulting in 22 referrals to the office, the representative said.

The first car stolen was a 1986 Chevrolet Cavalier taken from the 1000 block of Florida Avenue on March 28 at 9 a.m., according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum.

The owner, who left the keys in the unlocked car, learned from a neighbor that two young boys had gotten in the car and driven away.

That night at 8 p.m., Hagerstown City Police got a call from police in Pennsylvania where two boys were found operating a car that had a flat tire. The car was traced to Hagerstown and turned out to be the one stolen from Florida Avenue, according to police.

Another car was stolen on April 2 from the 1000 block of West Washington Street. A woman living in the neighborhood got suspicious and called police when the boys showed up at her house and wanted her son to go for a ride.

The April 3 burglary was discovered when police called to investigate the burglary found the older boy sitting in another car in the neighborhood.

The 13-year-old has been at the Noyes Detention Center in Rockville, Md. The 12-year-old has been at the Jackson Unit at the Finan Center in Cumberland, Md.

"I miss these kids, I love them ... it's their first time in trouble," the father said, asking that they be returned home.

McDowell was unconvinced.

"I'm very concerned about supervision at home," McDowell said. He said substance abuse seems to be a factor.

Pending sentencing, both boys were returned to their respective placement facilities until completion of reports ordered by the judge. He also ordered a home study.

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