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Teens allegedly stealing skateboards from younger kids

February 10, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Police here are keeping an eye out for teen thieves stealing skateboards from younger children.

Two such thefts occurred Friday, one at 3:30 p.m. in the 600 block of North Third Street and a second at 6:30 p.m. in the 900 block of G Street.

While police say the two incidents were not perpetrated by the same teens, the method used was similar.

In both cases two teens, thought to be either in seventh or eighth grade, walked up to fifth- of sixth-graders riding their boards.

"They say, ‘Nice skateboard. Let me see your board,' " said Brawley police Sgt. Mark Gillmore, who added when the younger kids picked up the board to show the underside design, the teens grabbed the board and ran.

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Gillmore said the teens used force to yank the boards from the younger kids. He said for that reason police would book the thieves into juvenile hall and seek felony robbery charges against them.

Gillmore added, "This type of theft constituting a felony is not worth ruining your life."

He said anyone found riding a stolen skateboard, no matter whether that person stole the board, could be arrested for possessing a stolen item, a felony.

While the two thefts Friday were the most recent example of the teen crime, he said there have been other skateboard thefts in Brawley, adding it is a problem that comes and goes.

Still, he said police are going to investigate and follow up on leads. He said police do have suspect descriptions and have descriptions of the boards stolen.

He added Brawley COMBAT units, which are community volunteers driving around the city watching for problems, will be apprised of the situation and will be assisting officers with the case.

Gillmore added he is unsure if the two thefts Friday were connected.

Meanwhile, kids in Brawley on Saturday said they are angered others are stealing skateboards.

A group of fifth- and sixth-graders was riding skateboards on a residential street.

One 11-year-old said he was aware skateboard thefts have been happening but he said he didn't know it had happened Friday.

"It makes you a little nervous," he said, "I don't want them stealing my board."

Another 11-year-old in the group said, "You worked hard for it and you don't want them to steal it."

The kids say skateboards can cost more than $100 and while some said their skateboard was a gift, others said they had to do chores for their skateboard.

The kids also said there is not much they can do if an older and bigger teen-ager tries to take their board. They said the one thing they can do is stay in groups. They said as a group they might be able to stop a teen-ager from taking their boards.

In South Plaza Park a group of sixth-, seventh- and eighth- graders was riding skateboards. They said they were surprised to hear about the thefts.

"You can get put in juvenile hall," one 12-year-old said. "It can be on your permanent record."

A 13-year-old said, "It's just wrong. You don't want someone stealing your skateboard because it costs a lot of money."

Anyone with information about the skateboard thefts can contact Brawley police at 344-2111.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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