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Police arrest 3 juveniles in stolen vehicle for 2nd time in same day

According to police, two 13 and one 11-year-old snuck out of the reception center and were later arrested in another stolen vehicle by Columbus police.

WHITEHALL, Ohio — Police arrested three juveniles accused of car theft for a second time on Wednesday after they escaped from officers, only to be caught attempting to steal another vehicle.  

Whitehall police initially arrested a group of five juveniles between the ages of 11 and 16 years old in connection to two stolen vehicles on Wednesday. 

Police said officers were called out to the area of Broad Street and Hamilton Road for a report of eight or nine juveniles, who did not appear old enough to drive, getting out of a vehicle.

Officers found the vehicle, which was reported stolen by the Columbus Division of Police.

Four of the juveniles from the group were found attempting to steal another car, according to police. The juveniles had just broken the window of the vehicle and had tools with them to steal the vehicle when they were arrested. 

Whitehall police said one of the four juveniles had a warrant out for their arrest for a robbery. The juvenile was already on house arrest and was supposed to be on an ankle monitor. An investigation revealed that the juvenile cut the monitor off earlier in the day and left his home.

One of the group members reportedly tried to return to the stolen car they arrived in. Detectives were able to stop the vehicle and arrested the driver while the rest of the group ran away from officers.

The group that ran away got into a waiting vehicle, which was also stolen. Police tried to pursue that stolen vehicle but called it off due to safety concerns for the public.

In total, Whitehall police arrested the five juveniles, all of whom received felony charges. Two of the juveniles are 13 while the others are 11, 15 and 16 years old.

The Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center was contacted to take all five to jail, but would only accept the juvenile who had robbery warrants.

The other four were taken to the Village Network Reception Center, which Whitehall police say is the only alternative for law enforcement to take juveniles when they aren't accepted at the Franklin County center.

According to police, two 13-year-olds and one 11-year-old snuck out of the reception center and were later arrested in another stolen vehicle by Columbus police. 

The Village Network Reception Center issued a statement to 10TV, saying the organization has been collaborating with Franklin County Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court and local law enforcement agencies since 2013.

The statement in part reads,

"The primary role of The Village Network’s Reception Center is to provide a post-arrest assessment of youth, identify any basic needs, and link youths and their families to needed services. 

"Our mental health professionals assess immediate risk, including safety, access to shelter, immediate health concerns, human trafficking, domestic violence respite, and parent/guardian availability. 

"The Village Network does not play a role in any decision about whether a youth is detained at the point of arrest. That is strictly a decision between law enforcement and the Franklin County Juvenile Intervention Center. 

"The Reception Center is a behavioral health clinic. It is not a locked facility, an extension of law enforcement or the Franklin County Juvenile Intervention Center. Children ages 11 and younger are typically not held at the Juvenile Intervention Center; therefore, they generally are diverted to the Reception Center, which could lead to a referral to Franklin County Children’s Services."

The agency said it assists roughly 1,000 youth every year with mental health and basic needs.

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