KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — A juvenile is facing charges for a string of auto burglaries in one Kingsport neighborhood, according to police who also said each vehicle targeted was unlocked.
The Kingsport Police Department on Wednesday announced the arrest of a 14-year-old male, whose name cannot be released by police due to his age.
According to police, the juvenile admitted to burglarizing at least 20 vehicles in the Fair Acres neighborhood and was also implicated in a late-April auto theft in the same area. Three of the vehicles had items stolen from them.
The KPD said each vehicle was unlocked and none were forcibly entered. The vehicle the suspect allegedly stole was also left unlocked with the keys inside, according to police.
The suspect lives within “easy walking distance” of where the alleged crimes took place.
The police department said even though the juvenile admitted to burglarizing more than 20 vehicles, only four of the incidents were reported to police, on May 7–8. Some of the reported stolen property was recovered along with additional suspected stolen property.
The KPD is asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a recent auto burglary to report the incident to the department immediately.
The police department is also encouraging citizens to keep their vehicles locked and to remove any valuables from their vehicles before leaving.
“Make no mistake, the Kingsport Police Department is absolutely not in the business of blaming victims; however, it is incumbent upon all of us as law-abiding citizens to make these types of crimes more difficult for criminals to commit,” Chief Dale Phipps said in a release. “Taking some basic common sense security measures will significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim. We know for a fact that these steps work, so it is our duty to encourage citizens to follow them.”
The juvenile suspect was charged with motor vehicle theft over $10,000, felony reckless endangerment, three counts of auto burglary, two counts of theft of property under $1,000, theft of property over $1,000, and criminal trespassing.
The case remains under investigation and additional charges are possible.