SAN JOSE, Calif. — Police arrested nearly a dozen juveniles — including an alleged 11-year-old getaway driver who led officers on a high-speed pursuit — for a string of armed robberies, burglaries and carjacking in Northern California, authorities said Thursday.
San Jose police say the youths victimized at least 15 people during a weekend crime rampage in the city. The suspects ranged in age from 11 to 17, the department said. Police declined to release their names because of their ages.
San Jose police chief Eddie Garcia told KPIX that he was frustrated that many of the suspects have been released from custody because of their ages.
“We feel they are being released too quickly,” Garcia said. “If these crimes were committed by adults…those individuals would still be incarcerated.”
Police said the violence began Friday night when a woman was pulled from her car and punched in the face before several youths took off in it. Police spotted the car shortly afterward and chased it briefly at high speeds before it pulled over and four youths were arrested. Police said the 11-year-old was driving.
Over the next six hours, the other suspects traversed the city as five armed robberies, five carjackings and a violent assault occurred, police said. Police said they realized the youths were connected when witnesses reported the suspects driving the same vehicles.
The alleged crimes were reported throughout the city, stretching to downtown, East San Jose and South San Jose.
Garcia said he’s concerned that juvenile crime may be rising in San Jose because crimes committed by minors are often treated more leniently than adult crimes.
“I think it’s a factor,” Garcia said.
In October, police arrested an 18-year-old man and four juveniles for allegedly shooting a homeowner during a botch burglary and then committing several other burglaries and a carjacking.
Garcia said reports of robberies committed by juveniles has surged 69 percent — 85 to 144 — this year compared to the same point last year. He said burglaries committed by juveniles have risen by 65 percent and vehicle theft has doubled in the same time period. Overall violent crimes by juvenile suspects are up 42 percent.
Information from: KPIX-TV.