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URBANA — A Rantoul teen who stole a car earlier this year not long after being released from prison for stealing several cars is headed back to juvenile prison.

Judge Roger Webber on Tuesday sentenced the 14-year-old boy to a maximum of seven years in juvenile prison for possession of a stolen vehicle, the second time Webber imposed a prison sentence on the youth for the same type of crime.

Webber sentenced him in November to seven years in juvenile prison after the boy pleaded guilty to stealing five vehicles in Champaign and Urbana in four months in 2020.

The judge’s sentence notwithstanding, officials at the Department of Juvenile Justice actually decide how long a delinquent minor will serve. In this case, he was released from prison about Feb. 17.

Prior to that, Webber had given the boy multiple chances to remain in the community while his cases were being resolved, but more than once when he was released from detention, he re-offended.

In the case for which Webber was sentencing him Tuesday, the youth was arrested March 15 for stealing a car that a delivery driver had left running near Sixth and Green streets in the Campustown area of Champaign. The driver — who was ticketed for leaving a running vehicle — came out in time to see his car being driven away. The car and the boy were later found in west Champaign.

A week after the youth was charged with stealing that car, Webber again released him to the custody of a relative but ordered that he wear an electronic ankle monitor.

The teen pleaded guilty on April 29 to possessing the stolen delivery vehicle and his case was continued for sentencing to June 3.

A day after he pleaded guilty but before he was sentenced, the state filed a contempt petition alleging that the youth was violating the rules set by the judge, such as remaining out after curfew. Two days after that, he cut off his electronic ankle monitor, Assistant State’s Attorney Brooke Hinman said.

On June 3, he failed to appear for sentencing and Webber issued a warrant of apprehension. The teen was picked up again early this month.

After Webber sentenced the teen to up to seven years, Hinman agreed to dismiss the escape charge for cutting off the electronic monitor in May. He was given credit on his sentence for 25 days served.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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