Kinston police share important message after several crimes involving teens

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – One police department here in the east is sharing an important message with parents in the community after they say several crimes were committed by teenagers over the last few days.

Kinston police are on high alert after they said two recent crimes were committed by teenagers in the city.

Early Saturday morning, police said officers were patrolling the Stroud Avenue and Williams Street area after receiving calls about teenagers trying to break into vehicles.

Major Brandon Turner said officers found three people, including a 14-year-old boy with a sawed-off shotgun in his waistband.

“It’s a huge deal because that gun is not intended to be 12, 13, 14 inches long,” Turner said. “The law states that barrel length has to be more than 18 inches and the overall length has to be more than 26 inches. So with it being cut down so short it classifies as a weapon of mass destruction.”

A few days later, police were called to another crime involving teens. Police said early Monday morning, they went to Neuse Sport Shop for an alarm call and found a broken window.

After chasing a car suspected in the break-in, they were able to arrest a 16-year-old.

Owner Russell Rhodes said after multiple break-ins, they knew they had to update the shop’s security.

“We have been putting in a lot of measures to ensure the firearms we have are not accessible to a break-in and those young men did not have access to the firearms,” Rhodes said.

As temperatures get hotter, Turner said crimes involving teens start happening in waves.

“Right now it’s starting to warm up, kids are out later,” Turner said. “Obviously, we expect an increase once school lets out for the summer.”

Rhodes has been at the sports shop for 43 years and said he is thankful for the help the police have given, however, he says things need to change and that begins with parents in the community.

“It’s youth that are misguided that they are trying to get the product they should not have access to and I wish we could spend more time educating our youth not to do these dangerous activities,” Rhodes said.

Major Turner said it’s important to focus on the youth and offer programs to help them. He said working with community partners is a benefit as it gives the teens something to do rather than turning to crime.