CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland police arrested six kids in a stolen car Wednesday morning and a short time later officers had to give those same kids a ride home.
The arrest happened after officers followed a stolen car onto I-90 early Wednesday. They spotted the car with the help of a GPS system. They say the OnStar GPS system took control of the car so that it could only go only travel at a speed of 3 mph.
Officers arrested six teens, ages 13 to 15 years old.
Investigators told the I-TEAM that some of the same teens were already being investigated for other stolen cars and robberies.
However, police had to take them home, pointing out a side of the juvenile justice system that officers consider maddening.
When police arrest young suspects, they take the kids to the Juvenile Detention Center, but that facility only holds the most dangerous kids.
So, when the others get sent home, the police end up giving them a ride. Officers can’t just leave them and tell them to call a friend for a ride because the kids are still considered in police custody.
The I-TEAM met the mother of one of the teen suspects. She says she was surprised to get a knock at the door and see police with her son.
“Nobody called me from juvenile. Nothing. They knocked on the door. They said we have your son. I said, ‘Why are you bringing him back to me?’ ‘Well, they don’t want him downtown,'” she said, adding “Yeah, they shoulda kept him.”
One of the stolen car victims could hardly believe the situation when the I-TEAM told her how the kids had been released.
“I think they should be sitting in jail for a good amount of time. Just because they’re young, they shouldn’t be getting off the hook,” the victim said.
Meanwhile, one suspect’s mother says she would have felt better seeing her own son held behind bars, admitting that she cannot control her child.
She said, “I can’t wait until he’s 18. That’s all I care about.”
Officers say kid criminals know the system so well that sometimes they sit in the back of patrol cars and laugh at police.