Teens face charges in car theft spree

ASHWAUBENON – Seven vehicles stolen in at least seven days – and police say seven teens may be behind them.

“Lived in Ashwaubenon for 40-some years,” said Jim DeGrave. “I never lock my truck.”

Ever, he said.

Marlee Lane in Ashwaubenon is your stereotypical, quiet suburban street – and Jim DeGrave likes it that way.

“Safe neighborhood, everybody’s good, but,” he said trailing off. “But I guess I lock it from now on.”

Because his black GMC Sierra wasn’t in his driveway Wednesday morning.

“We’re in the middle of filling out the (police) report when (the officer) says, get in the car, we think it’s just down the road,” said DeGrave.

Police found the pickup on a trail in nearby Sherwood Forest Park. When an officer went back to the scene, he saw four kids run off. Two were quickly arrested. Two others ran into the woods and were later found – one by a police K-9.

Police say the teens – all from Green Bay – were behind four Green Bay car thefts, one in Hobart/Lawrence, one in Outagamie County and the theft of DeGrave’s in Ashwaubenon. Three girls are also facing charges for going along for the rides.

“They used them for what they were going to use them for, in this case with the truck from Ashwaubenon, they used it, took it for a joy ride, went to McDonald’s, got some food and then found a place to hide it,” said Ashwaubenon Public Safety Lt. Jody Crocker.

Police say the teens are also suspected in 20 vehicle break-ins where they were looking for keys, drugs or money. Crimes of opportunity, police say are easily preventable.”

“You know, it was my fault, I left the keys in it,” said DeGrave.

The truck is in decent shape – save for a few scratches and a sticker honoring his deceased son getting scratched off.

“That hurts more than them even taking the truck.”

Police say it is clear the teens didn’t realize the seriousness of the crimes.

“The ages of these kids are between 11 and 15 years old. That’s awfully young to be starting this kind of a crime spree,” said Crocker.

“Where are their parents?” asked FOX 11’s Bill Miston.

“That’s a good question,” Crocker replied. “These kids are out in the middle of the night and they’re running around and wreaking havoc in our communities and their parents either thought they were somewhere else, or didn’t really know where they were at the time.”

Allegedly stealing DeGrave’s truck.

“I mean, the oldest one is 15,” remarked DeGrave. “You don’t have parents? What are you doing? You got to be at somebody’s house. Somebody’s watching them.”

Police say the 14-year old that was taken down by the police dog was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and taken into custody.

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