Since December, two Schwenksville businesses have been the target of petty vandalism and burglary three times. Sometimes items were stolen, sometimes just property was damaged. Twice, several bottles were taken from a local liquor store, while a local eatery had windows smashed after the restaurant's alarm system was activated.
Pennsylvania State Police investigated all three crime scenes and came up empty-handed except for one partial shoe print. Last week they got their answer. A 16-year-old boy confessed to all three discrepancies. The police report claims the teenager admitted to the incidents during an interview. Despite this admission, when dealing with juvenile crimes, there are many extenuating circumstances and questions that the police and court system should ask.
Was the teenager being threatened, influenced or coerced by someone else? Was he trying to prove himself as some sort of gang-related initiation? Was there an actual need for money or food? Does the youngster suffer from alcoholism or other mental illness? What is the teen's home life or living situation? Were his actions simply youthful indiscretions because he was just plain bored? Or, could it be the boy is truly innocent and the police badgered him into a confession?
For whatever the reason, his poor decisions now may have lasting consequences on the teenager for years to come. Whether he tries to get a job, go to school, apply for a loan, or even travel out of state, his juvenile activities may or may not impact the rest of his life.
His confession may secure leniency from the courts and hopefully a rehabilitative approach, rather than criminal punishment, will be utilized. Once he turns 18 he may be eligible for a complete expungement of his juvenile record so he can start his adult life with a clean slate.
Source: Perkiomen Valley Patch, "Update: Teen Confesses to Burglaries, Police Say," Ann Cornell, March 13, 2012