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12-Year-Old Arrested for 57th Crime

March 31, 1993

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A 12-year-old boy, charged with 57 crimes in four years, continues to slip through gaping cracks in the juvenile justice system, say police who hope to charge him as an adult for his latest escapade.

″We need to say enough is enough. This kid is a hardened criminal,″ Broward Sheriff’s Detective Bill Loos said. ″It’s frustrating and alarming.″

The boy, whose name was not released because of his age, was picked up Monday after he and two friends were caught trying to break into a convenience store. Loos said the youngster acted as if the arrest was an annoyance.

″He acted very unconcerned,″ Loos said. ″I guess the old saying is true. Familiarity breeds contempt.″

The sixth-grader was in a juvenile detention center Tuesday, but can not remain there more than 21 days, said Assistant State Attorney Debbie McClosky, supervisor of the juvenile unit.

If convicted, older youths often end up in a live-in program for no more than three to six months, McClosky said. Younger delinquents are usually kept out of detention centers altogether.

The boy started his criminal career at 8 with a burglary, police said. At 9, he was an armed robber. Since then, he’s been charged with grand larceny, criminal mischief, and resisting arrest.

Loos said he hoped to break the pattern by asking prosecutors to charge him this time as an adult.

″I’m going to ask, but I already anticipate I’m going to get a negative answer,″ he said.

The boy’s mother is in prison in Georgia, Loos said. Police do not know who his father is. The boy has been living with his grandmother.

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