Several criminal incidents involving teenagers have been reported this week as at least one teen is suspected in a nighttime assault on another teenager and two teens are in custody for a series of home invasions in August.
Two weeks ago, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office charged two 17 year olds from Ashburn with a series of five home burglaries, which authorities called a mini crime spree. The Sheriff's Office estimated that $10,000 worth of property was taken from the homes, including MP3 players, video-game systems and alcohol.
The spree began Aug. 29 when the suspects allegedly entered three homes in the Brambleton area. The suspects entered a home on Magellan Square before entering two homes on Blue Elder Terrace. Aug. 30 the suspects allegedly entered a home on Hollyhock Terrace. The fifth home, also on Blue Elder Terrace, was broken into some time between Aug. 28 and Aug. 31. The suspects broke locks on the windows of the homes to enter, authorities said.
One of the teenagers is a suspect in another burglary, Kraig Troxell, the Sheriff's Office spokesperson, said, which occurred Sept. 11. The female homeowner was at home when the incident occurred, Troxell said.
"Apparently she confronted him once he had entered the home," he said.
When the homeowner attempted to call the Sheriff's Office on her cell phone, the 17-year-old suspect took the phone from her and broke it before he left the house.
The teens, who were being held at the Loudoun Juvenile Detention Center, were charged with five counts of burglary, possession of stolen property with intent to sell it and destruction of property. The teenager involved in the Sept. 11 incident has been charged with an additional count of burglary and robbery.
IN AN UNRELATED incident, the Sheriff's Office believes that at least one teenager was involved in the Wednesday, Oct. 4, assault of a 15-year-old Ashburn resident.
Around 9:30 p.m. the teenage victim was standing outside of his home on Ladyslipper Square when he was approached. While one person approached him from the front, several unknown people assaulted the victim from behind. One of the suspects allegedly took out a gun and struck the victim with it.
"We think there were more than three people involved," Troxell said. "We know that at least one was a teenager, but the others, we don't know."
Troxell added that the Sheriff's Office did not believe the incident was gang related. All of the people involved have been described as black males.
"We believe it is related to an incident that happened at [the victim's] school that led to the assault," he said.
Although he did not elaborate on the school incident, Troxell said it was not something the victim had done, but rather something that was connected to him.
When authorities arrived on the scene, the teenage victim showed visible signs of injury, but refused medical treatment.
WHILE TROXELL SAID the increase in crimes among juveniles is an effect of continued growth in the county, he said the Sheriff's Office is concerned about the types of crimes being committed.
"Juveniles are becoming involved in more serious crimes," he said, "mob assaults, multiple burglaries and larcenies."
Troxell said the Sheriff's Office expects to see some destruction of property incidents or more minor crimes involving youth, but that the increase in more violent crimes is worrying.
"It is a two-fold issue," he said. "Teenagers are always looking for something to do and sometimes when they are looking for something to do they choose the wrong path."
Many of the crimes committed by teens recently are crimes of opportunity, Troxell said, not necessarily for the benefit of selling items to make money.
"People feel safe and secure which is great, but doesn't mean you can leave your car door unlocked or your front door unlocked or your garage door open," he said. "Someone is going to take advantage of that."
Programs and organizations such as D.A.R.E. and Next Level 4 Teens are important for steering youth away from committing crimes, Troxell said, as are the school resource officers assigned to each high school.
"Those officers set up a rapport with students," he said. "They can give them a positive view of law enforcement. Provide a positive role model."
Anyone with information about the identity of the suspects involved in the assault is asked to call Investigator K. Fognano of the Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division at 703-777-0475. To remain anonymous, call Loudoun Crime Solvers at 703-777-1919. A cash reward of up to $1,000 could be given to a caller if the information provided leads to an arrest and indictment.