At about 4:30 p.m. Monday, a man on his porch told police he saw the teen walk through his neighbor’s yard, with a laptop computer under his arm, and hop a fence. Police said the man recognized the teen because he knew him as his neighbor’s dog walker.
The man grew suspicious when he noticed the teen’s ankle monitor and sent a text message to his neighbor to tell him what he saw, according to police.
The neighbor returned home and discovered that a laptop computer was missing, police said.
Officers tracked down the teen to the home he shares with his aunt, but the teen insisted he never left the house.
However, police said the company that oversees the teen’s ankle monitor confirmed that he had left the home at about the time of the burglary.
Authorities arrested the teen May 13 for stealing electronics at a home in the 1500 block of East Broad Street. Following the arrest, a juvenile court judge ordered the teen to wear an ankle monitor as a condition of bond as he awaits trial.
After the aunt gave officers permission to search, they were unable to find the stolen laptop. But they noticed there were four Xbox gaming systems in the home.
Authorities ran the serial numbers of the gaming systems through a crime database, but none appeared stolen.
Still, investigators suspect that the Xbox consoles might be stolen and an investigation continues to try to confirm those suspicions, said police Lt. Mike McKeel, who is supervisor of the Athens-Clarke Eastside Property Crime Unit.
Following his arrest on Monday, deputies charged the teen with burglary and took him to the Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center.
McKeel and other property crime investigators routinely deal with young repeat offenders, he said.
“It’s very frustrating, because aside from locking people up and keeping them locked up, I don’t know what it takes to get through to people so that they stop doing this,” he said. “If they are going to be punished, the punishment needs to be a deterrent and not just an inconvenience.”