Monday, June 24, 2024

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Police forced to rearrest teen pizza bandits after they slip from state agency’s grasp

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Police in Burlington have arrested two teenagers who allegedly held up a pizza delivery driver and made off with the pies he was trying to distribute to customers.

The two 17-year-old males were initially taken into custody after an early morning manhunt on Sunday that followed their confrontation with the delivery driver just after 12:00 midnight.

According to Burlington’s police department, one of the teenagers struck the driver in the face as he and his accomplice allegedly tried to rob him at gunpoint along the 1100 block of Chandler Avenue. The pair then relieved their victim of his thermal delivery bag and left him to call the police.

Members of the city’s police force reportedly set up a perimeter after they arrived on the scene, and they brought in a trained dog to track down the suspects. The dog eventually nosed in on the discarded delivery bag before leading officers to a home along the 700 block of Sharpe Road. According to the police department, the homeowner agreed to let officers search the premises, where they discovered a Domino’s pizza box as well as a gun that had previously been reported stolen from Greenville, North Carolina.

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According to the police department, officers went on to arrest the two teenagers on charges that included robbery with a deadly weapon, possession of stolen property, possession of a stolen firearm, and the illegal possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. The suspects were later turned over to the N.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which reportedly released the pair – to the utter consternation of the city’s police force.

The state agency’s actions were ultimately called out by Burlington’s mayor Jim Butler, who brought up the snafu during a city council work session on Monday. Butler’s chagrin was echoed by Burlington’s police chief Alan Balog, who acknowledged that his officers were forced to go back out and recapture the two teens because of the blunder on the part of juvenile justice.

“The wrong stuff happened that night, for sure,” Balog added during the council’s work session. “There was an error by the department of juvenile justice about what should’ve happened with those 17-year-olds…and from my seat as the chief, I worry so much about having officers run the risk of finding people again who already know they’re wanted.”

In the end, the city’s police officers managed to collar both suspects on Monday evening – as the police department acknowledged in a news release on the following day. The department has not released the names of the suspects, however, due to their age.

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