Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Breaking Glass: Call of Young Criminals

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Breaking Glass: Call of Young Criminals

Article excerpt

Police call them "smash-and-grabs," burglaries in which the

suspects toss a rock through the front window of a store, then

grab what they can and flee.

Business burglaries, which include the smash-and-grabs,

increased 32 percent in Mandarin in the first nine months of

1996 over the same period last year, according to police. In

many cases, just a single store is hit. In others, adjacent

stores or offices were hit within minutes.

But it's not just the increase in the number of crimes that

concerns Jacksonville police.

Many of the incidents may have been caused by young burglars

testing police response time and their own abilities, said

detective James Brown of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

"You have a group of juveniles, anywhere from 16 to 18, who are

just out seeing what they can do. That is why you have the small

amount of loss. It is almost a dare type of crime," Brown said.

"You see this happening to get one's nerve up. Once they get

comfortable, that is when you will see the losses."

Though most smash-and-grabs result in little property damage or

loss of money or merchandise, victims say the fact that youths

may be involved makes it a far more serious issue.

"It bothers me. Nothing prevents a juvenile from testing the

strength or testing his abilities. What's the worst that can

happen? That is exactly what is in a kid's brain. Someone who

wants to prove manhood doesn't really care," said Ike Griniasti,

whose Kosher Kitchen restaurant was victimized Oct. 11.

Here are some of the smashand-grab burglaries reported in

Mandarin in the past three months:

Cafe Express, Evangeline's Florist, Bernie's Meats and Woody's

barbecue were broken into between 1:30 and 3 a.m. Oct. 21, all

within a block of each other on Philips Highway. …

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