16-year-old with criminal history sent to juvenile prison for burglary

16-year-old with criminal history sent to juvenile prison for burglary

URBANA — A 16-year-old from Champaign whose criminal history began two years ago has been sentenced to juvenile prison for residential burglary.

Judge Tom Difanis on Wednesday said the public needed to be protected from the teen, who had not taken advantage of prior services offered him and continued to commit crimes while on probation and parole.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said the teen pleaded guilty to breaking into a home in the 700 block of Michigan Avenue in Urbana on Sept. 26, 2017. A neighbor had seen activity at the house and called police, who found it had been forcibly entered and rummaged through. They arrested the teen there.

At the time, the youth was on parole for a 2016 adjudication for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. In that earlier case, Champaign police caught the minor burglarizing cars near Bradley and McKinley avenues on July 30, 2016.

He ran from police, who saw him toss an item over a fence that was later identified as a .25-calbier semi-automatic handgun, Rietz said.

The teen received probation for unlawful use of a weapon, but that was revoked in March 2017 after he was arrested Oct. 15, 2016, for stealing an air gun from the Meijer store on North Prospect Avenue in Champaign. He was sent back to the Department of Juvenile Justice until May 2017.

He was out four months when he committed the residential burglary in Urbana.

Rietz said while being held for the burglary, the teen was given the chance for residential substance abuse treatment but didn't complete it.

The youth can be held in juvenile prison until his 21st birthday.

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GLG wrote on February 25, 2018 at 9:02 am

Ms. Reitz and her clown show can give this punk some "Adult Probation" when he comes back in a couple of years. 16 year old repeat felon should be on his way to prison!   Time for Tom Difanis to retire. Tom used to be tough on crime when he was the SA, What happened Tom?

champaign61821 wrote on February 26, 2018 at 10:02 am

I can't believe you are willing to lock up and throw away the key for a 16 year old kid. There needs to be a better emphasis put on educating and rehabilitating young juvenile defenders. Seems like we, as a society, do the bare minimum, and then complain when young people break the law. It's clear he hasn't been taught good values at home. I just can't imagine someone wanting to wash their hands of this kid at such a young age and declaring him a lost cause. You, as a citizen, and a taxpayer will pay for it your whole life. It's time and money better spent to try and help this young man learn to be a better citizen.