A 12-year-old boy, who has reportedly been arrested more than 20 times in the past, was caught on video stealing the car of a 89-year-old man in St. Petersburg, according to New York Daily News.
Authorities investigating the case revealed that the auto theft occurred Friday morning as the elderly man had stepped out of his Florida house to get some supplies. The boy, who was cycling in the area, reportedly told the elderly driver one of his tires was flat. When the man stopped to check his tire, the boy rode around the car before entering it and driving away. All of it was caught on a CCTV camera, the video of which you can see above.
St. Petersburg Police Department spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez said once the police received the complaint, they hoped to track down the child thief by releasing the video. However, it was one of the police department's own detectives who recognized the boy from the footage because of his past record, which has seen him getting arrested a remarkable 20 times at an age when most kids are busy negotiating the onset of puberty.
The police say that the 12-year-old boy was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with grand theft motor vehicle. His identity has not been revealed to media outlets because he is a juvenile. According to another police spokesman, Mike Puetz, the child has previously been charged with more than 20 counts of misdemeanors and felonies, including auto theft, possession of marijuana, simple battery, and robbery, reports ABC News.
Although the victim of the crime was not immediately identifiable, local news station WTSP later identified the 89-year-old motorist as St. Petersburg resident Raymond Raftery, who was apparently driving his Toyota on 22 Avenue at around 11 a.m. when he was stopped by the young boy who pretended to be concerned for him.
The old man, believing the boy was telling the truth, pulled up to an air pump and got out to check his tire. It was then that the young boy ditched his bike and stole the car within a matter of seconds. The disbelieving elderly man can be seen rooted to the spot, unable to grasp the severity of the situation. Later, he contacted the police.
Fortunately, Raymond Raftery was not injured during the incident.
This is not the first time in recent weeks that children have been arrested for committing serious crimes in the United States. A few weeks ago, the Inquisitr reported about an 11-year-old Tennessee boy who had shot and killed an 8-year-old girl after they had an argument over a puppy. In another incident, an unsupervised 8-year-old viciously attacked and killed an infant in Birmingham, Alabama, after their mother had left them while she had gone clubbing with her friends. The 12-year-old boy stealing an elderly man's car is but one example.These are not stray cases either, and according to experts, the blame for such heinous crimes committed by children are as much to do with the increasing levels of violence in our society as they are to with bad parenting. Having said that, the U.S. Department of Justice claims that there has been a significant fall in juvenile delinquency cases in the last two decades alone.
We can only hope the 12-year-old boy who stole the elderly man's car learns a lesson from being arrested yet another time.
[Photo via St. Pete PD/YouTube]