Sarpy County authorities cite juveniles after residential fences destroyed
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In the early hours of Tuesday, apparent teenagers were caught on camera at several homes, crashing through yard fences on foot.
By Thursday afternoon, nine teenagers, under the age of 18, were cited by the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office for criminal mischief at nine separate homes. Another teenager is also expected to be cited.
The group hit fences around at least eight homes in the area of 159th Street and Giles Road at about 2 a.m. Tuesday.
“We identified some information from the video we had,” said Sarpy County Sheriff’s Deputy Blake Raughton. “Additionally, we had a parent actually contact the sheriff’s office, and do the responsible thing, to take responsibility, hopefully, is what’s gonna be at the end, that’s do the right thing.”
“I’m very happy that they got caught, that was my biggest concern, I didn’t want anything to happen to anybody else’s fences,” said Giles Ridge homeowner Mark Stika, who had temporarily propped portions of his damaged fence by Thursday afternoon, but faces several thousand dollars in repairs. “It’s unfortunate for the families involved, but at the end of the day, they’re out destroying property. So somebody’s gotta be held accountable.”
What happens next is up to the Sarpy County Juvenile Justice system. Once the damages are assessed and the evidence considered, there could be more serious charges against the teenagers. Homeowners we spoke to hope that system doesn’t go lightly on those responsible.
“I think the kids if there’s damages in excess of $5,000, which I think there are, I think they should face whatever charges are appropriate at that point,” said Meridian Park homeowner Terry Dale, who had minor fence damage but lamented the more extensive damage to his neighbor. “Regardless, we’ve got at least a half dozen homeowners in this subdivision alone facing anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars in costs because of this prank, this ill-advised, stupid prank that these kids pulled.”
“Honestly, I think they should make an example of them, so this doesn’t happen again,” Stika said. “It was very brazen the way they did it and had no regard for anybody’s property. They didn’t seem to even care if they got caught.”
Because of their ages, their names and high schools haven’t been released, but Raughton said it’s important for teenagers to understand the impact crimes like this can have on their future.
“Hanging out with your friends, you think it’s cool to go running through a fence, but there’s consequences to it,” Raughton said. " You get in trouble for this, it could affect your ability to play sports in high school, as you get older you’re gonna have to put this on applications, certain jobs they’re gonna look in your background, whether you’re a juvenile or not.”
As for the process, homeowners faced with expensive repairs will likely have to wait for a resolution.
“I think that the parents should be stepping up, and not wait for charges, and start talking to us about restitution, getting our fences fixed,” Dale said. “I’m not worried about mine so much, a few hundred dollars, but somebody up here who has $1,000 or $5,000 (in repairs), or somebody in another subdivision I heard has children with special needs. This needs to be fixed right away, not wait for the criminal justice system to play itself out. This needs to be taken care of.”
“I am grateful for the cooperation we had from the community, our friends from local media outlets, and the diligent work of our Road Patrol and Investigations units. This collaboration was instrumental in solving these cases quickly and efficiently,” Sarpy County Sheriff Jeffery Davis said in a news release.
The damage mirrored vandalism that happened in Omaha last summer when “Kool-Aid Man” stunts were trending on TikTok.
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