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Five Teens Captured Vandalism on Videotape

March 9, 1995

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ A two-hour videotape labeled ``Destruction″ shows some teen-agers vandalizing houses and a school, microwaving a live fish and getting a dog high on marijuana.

The youngsters say they made the video for their own entertainment. But a prosecutor said Thursday that it’ll be evidence when the five stand trial in Juvenile Court.

The videotape, made public by police this week, shows the youths in high spirits, kicking in walls, smashing toilets with hammers, cooking a live sea trout in a microwave until it exploded and putting a paper bag on a dog’s head and blowing marijuana smoke into it.

Prosecutor Terrence Martin said he expects damage estimates to total hundreds of thousands of dollars in the burglaries of seven houses and two break-ins at Terry Parker High School, all in January and February.

The houses were unoccupied, either new or being refurbished. The youngsters broke mirrors, windows, kitchen cabinets and plumbing, poured paint on carpeting and spray-painted obscene words on walls and windows.

If convicted of charges that include criminal mischief, vandalism, burglary and cruelty to animals, the five could be sent to juvenile detention centers or put on probation.

Under state law, the parents are responsible for restitution of the damage. All of the homes vandalized were covered by insurance.

The five were released after being held in a detention center for 21 days, the maximum allowed prior to trial. A trial date could be set at their next court appearance on March 16.

Four of the youths are 15; the other is 16. They were arrested in mid-February. Not all five were involved in each case. One has nine charges, while another is charged in three.

The tape was found in a duffel bag of a teen-ager stopped for questioning after one of the burglaries, said police Sgt. D.E. Coffman.

One of the youths told WJXT-TV that when they watched the tape, it would encourage them to do more damage to the next target.

Since the plan was to always out-do the previous time, he expressed relief about being caught before it built to an even more serious crime.

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