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Three Palm Coast teens arrested for vandalism of decorations

Three Palm Coast teenagers are accused of a serious lack of holiday spirit after they allegedly vandalized or stole holiday decorations from a number of local homes. The three 17-year-old boys were arrested last week after police investigated reports of stolen holiday lights at several Palm Coast homes. They have since been charged with felony grand theft from a dwelling, criminal mischief and felony criminal mischief.

The three have been accused of stealing or vandalizing holiday lights and lawn decorations at more than a dozen separate locations. There were also reports of damage to mailboxes, a vehicle, and a home window.

After they were arrested by police, the three teenagers cooperated with officers, helping them to identify the damage they had caused the night before. They also returned the stolen items to homeowners.

Two of the boys were released to their parents after they were charged. A third was sent to the Division of Youth Services in Daytona Beach.

The fate of these three boys remains unclear. In cases such as this one, judges need to think carefully about the juvenile's future before arriving at a sentence. Often, cases of mischief are more a sign of immaturity than hardened criminal intent. Indeed, after their arrest, these boys claimed they were "Grinching," which suggests they were being childish and irresponsible rather than cruel or malicious.

It seems likely, then, that these boys could benefit from an alternative sentence designed to promote discipline and rehabilitation. A number of such possible outcomes exist; parents who find their children in similar situations may wish to speak to a defense attorney for more information. It's never easy to see a child in such a criminal situation, but with the proper sentencing, the courts can reach a solution that is beneficial to both the juvenile and society at large.

Source: Palm Coast Observer, "Three teens arrested for holiday decoration damages," Dec. 10, 2012

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