Teens arrested after ‘crime spree’

Over the last couple of weeks, police arrested four teenagers responsible for a range of crimes.

Over the last couple of weeks, Oak Harbor police arrested four teenagers responsible for a range of crimes, from burglaries to graffiti, according to Police Chief Kevin Dresker.

The arrests are a culmination of an investigation by officers and detectives into the series of late-night crimes over the last two months. They were able to identify two distinct groups of teens responsible for the crimes and the investigation is continuing, according to police.

“There has been a bit of a crime spree,” Dresker said.

On Thursday, police arrested two 15-year-old boys. New charges were also forwarded on two 16-year-old boys who are already in custody at the Island County Juvenile Detention Center, the police reported.

Capt. Tony Slowik noted that juvenile crime in general has increased over the last year in both frequency and severity. In addition to a fatal shooting and felony assault, juveniles have been involved in multiple burglaries at a pot shop, a smoke shop and a convenience store. Kids stole golf carts and even damaged greens at the golf course. The latest trend, he said, has been graffiti in downtown Pioneer Way and in the area around Walmart.

“These individuals, along with another group of juveniles identified during the summer who were involved in a serious assault/robbery and other crimes, have caused numerous problems for people in our community,” he wrote. “They have kept law enforcement busy as we have worked to prevent additional crimes, investigated crimes that did occur.”

In the last couple of months, the juvenile suspects stole more than $4,000 worth of products from stores and caused more than $11,000 worth of damage to businesses. In addition, graffiti removal on both private and public property has cost more than $7,000, the police reported.

Prosecutors charged one of the suspects, a 16-year-old Oak Harbor resident, in Island County Juvenile Court Jan. 18 with attempted burglary in the second degree and malicious mischief in the third degree. He and three other juveniles were trying to break into the DK Market when they were scared away by a car approaching, court documents state.

Surveillance video caught the group of kids breaking two of the cameras outside of the business. Even though the juveniles were wearing masks, school staff was able to identify one in the group as the 16-year-old suspect. The same teenager was charged Dec. 15 with harassment in one case and assault in the fourth degree in another.