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Juveniles suspected in dozens of auto burglary cases

Thu., Sept. 22, 2011, 3:27 p.m.

Following a tip from a transient, Coeur d’Alene police recently arrested three teenage boys and charged them with 31 auto burglary cases and two felony malicious-injury-to-property cases reported during the summer.

Det. Alan Winstead believes several more reported burglaries within the city and county could be connected to the boys, a Thursday news release from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department said. In interviews with police, the boys said they broke into as many as 90 cars.

The juveniles’ names are not being released but they are 13, 16 and 17 years old. The 13-year-old was a reported runaway and recently moved to Coeur d’Alene from Billings. The 17-year-old also was reported as a runaway and the 16-year-old is a Coeur d’Alene resident.

Detectives received a tip from a homeless man who had been staying along the Spokane River just west of the city limits, the release said. He told police the boys were camping nearby and he heard them bragging about cars they had burglarized and stolen property they’d thrown in the river.

City and Kootenai County detectives responded and found the boys with several stolen items, the release said. Sheriff’s detectives also found stolen property in the river downstream of the camp, including computers, iPods, cell phones and other items damaged beyond repair.

Winstead determined the three boys were responsible for several reported auto burglaries after interviewing them all separately, the release said. The boys initially were charged with 11 felony counts of burglary, along with other misdemeanor charges.

Many of the vehicles had been left unlocked, but some of them had windows smashed in, the release said. One of the boys also is suspected for some graffiti vandalism within the city.

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