The Evanston Police Department is investigating whether three Chicago boys, ages 8 to 10, were coerced into working for a juvenile burglary ring that may be connected with several local crimes.
The three boys were arrested Aug. 14 in the 100 block of Clyde Avenue, where the apartment of a 24-year-old Evanston woman was burglarized a day earlier, according to an EPD news release Wednesday. Items stolen from the apartment include a watch, iPod, TV and car keys that were used to unlock the woman’s vehicle.
The boys were arrested for illegally entering a vehicle, according to the release.
After interviewing the three boys, police learned that two 16-year-olds threatened to hurt the young boys if they did not burglarize the apartment. The teens allegedly participated by standing lookout and helping one boy climb through an unsecured window, according to the release.
Police arrested and charged one teen with residential burglary on Aug. 22. The other has been identified but is not yet in custody.
EPD spokesman Perry Polinski said police suspect the juveniles are involved in a burglary ring responsible for other robberies in the area.
“First of all, the juveniles were intimidated by the teens into participating,” he said. “Altogether we’re talking about five individuals. Also, during interviews, (police) developed information that could possibly link them to as many as a half a dozen burglaries.”
Polinski said the apartment burglary is the first that EPD officers have been able to connect to the suspected ring.