Following a tip from a transient, Coeur d’Alene police recently arrested three teenage boys believed to be responsible for dozens of auto burglary cases reported during the summer.
The boys, two of whom were reported as runaways, are ages 13, 16 and 17. They’re being held on 11 felony burglary charges, but police believe they are responsible for at least 31 auto burglaries, along with two felony malicious injury to property cases, said Coeur d’Alene police spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood.
In addition, Detective Alan Winstead believes more reported burglaries within the city and county could be connected to the boys, a news release from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department said. Police said they were told by the boys during interviews that they broke into as many as 90 cars.
The juveniles’ names are not being released. The two runaways are the 13-year-old, who’s from Billings, and the 17-year-old, who’s from Coeur d’Alene, Wood said. The 16-year-old lives in Coeur d’Alene.
On Sept. 6, 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 had thrown into 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, cellphones and other items damaged beyond repair.
“They were looking for quick access to cash or drugs,” Wood said. “Everything else they threw away.”
The boys were arrested Sept. 6 and charged with possession of stolen property, Wood said. However, after Winstead interviewed the boys, they were charged with the 11 felony burglary counts, along with other misdemeanor charges.
Many of the vehicles were left unlocked, but some of them had their windows smashed, the release said. One of the boys also is suspected of some graffiti vandalism within the city.