MELBOURNE, Fla. — An 8-year-old girl who police said was spotted on a surveillance video breaking into a car with another juvenile was arrested on felony charges and will face a juvenile judge next month.
The child, whose name is not being released because of her age, was charged with burglary to an unoccupied conveyance and attempted theft. She was identified on the video by Palm Bay, Fla., police investigating a May 8 vehicle break-in.
Police said the officer had little discretion in making the arrest because of the underlying felony involved with the car burglary, said Lt. Mike Bandish, spokesman for the Palm Bay Police Department.
“It is a felony. There has to be a charge. Also, my understanding is that she was not placed in a lock-up situation,” said Bandish. “Normally, you see kids start this kind of activity when they’re older, maybe 14 or 15 years old.”
Related: Former Tenn. Mr. Football pleads guilty to burglary charge
The video showed three juveniles approaching the vehicle. The youngest girl — the one later charged — was seen on the video opening the driver’s side door.
“They had a flashlight and were rummaging through the car,” Bandish said. Another girl who was walking with the pair ran away from the car, police reported.
“Normally, you see kids start this kind of activity when they're older, maybe 14 or 15 years old.”
Lt. Mike Bandish, spokesman for the Palm Bay (Fla.) Police Department
A police officer went to Jupiter Elementary, where the 8-year-old is a student and questioned her about the burglary. The officer also showed the child the video, prompting the girl to name the older, 13-year-old boy and girl, no age given, who were with her, reports show.
The older girl did not actively try to burglarize the vehicles and tried to convince the younger child to stop, reports show. She was not charged, reports show.
The boy, who also is not being named because of his age, also was charged with burglary of a conveyance.
Officers investigating the case later went to the child’s home, located at least eight miles from where the burglary took place, to talk with her mother.
The mother confirmed that the young child in the video was her daughter, records show. Police then arrested the 8-year-old. She was ordered to appear in juvenile court June 2 for a hearing on the case.