School Burglary Ends in Juvenile Felony Charges

A school hardly seems like the perfect target for a large-scale burglary. However, as schools become more technologically advanced, and electronics become more portable, a school may become a prime location for stealing expensive computers and other electronics. Such was the case in late August this year at the John B. Drake Elementary School in Chicago. In a tragic twist, many of the alleged burglars are minors themselves, and now face charges for misdemeanor and felony crimes.

According to the Chicago Tribune, The John B. Drake Elementary School, located on the 2700 block of South Dearborn Street in Chicago, was burglarized between 8:45pm and 2:35am on a Friday at the end of August. Burglars allegedly stole over $100,000 worth of computer equipment and electronics, including iPad computers. Those computers were given to the school because it had taken in an influx of students from around the area, after the closure of over 50 local schools.

According to police reports, it appears that the school’s security alarm became disabled for approximately five hours, and during that time the burglars accessed storage containers in the school that were filled with the computers and equipment. The school’s principal secured the building and alerted law enforcement, and called to reactivate the alarm system.

So far 11 people have been criminally charged in connection with the school burglary. Most recently, 18-year-old Deion Dillard turned himself in this week, and is charged with felony burglary, according to A 25-year-old man involved in the stolen iPads was charged with misdemeanor theft, while nine teens, ranging from 13-years-old to 16-years-old, face charges including felony theft, felony burglary, and misdemeanor theft.

While the fate of the people involved in this case is still uncertain, the Illinois legislature has taken a stance on juveniles charged with felony crimes. Prior to the legislation, 17-year-olds facing criminal felony charges could be tried as adults. The new legislation, however, puts an end to that procedure, allowing 17-year-olds who are charged with felonies to be tried in juvenile court, rather than in the adult court system.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the purpose of the legislation is to rehabilitate youthful offenders. Juvenile courts offer rehabilitative services not available in the adult system, giving youthful offenders the chance to learn and grow, rather than re-offend.  The legislation was signed into law in July by Illinois State Governor Pat Quinn.

Illinois is the 39th state to pass legislation allowing 17-year-olds facing felony charges to be tried in the juvenile system. Officials report that the bill had received support from both sides of the aisles, and will finally take effect next year on January 14.

Whether juvenile or adult, criminal felony charges have serious consequences and penalties under Illinois law, and should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with violating criminal laws in Illinois, you should immediately seek out an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you, and can defend your case in court. Call the attorneys at Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.

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