Teens busted in string of thefts, break-ins

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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WAXHAW, N.C. —

Lori Lopacki had a good idea what kind of thieves were responsible after she found one of the family cars missing from the driveway in the Hunter Oaks neighborhood in Waxhaw and beers missing from the garage.

“We figured it was kids and it was probably in the neighborhood,” Lopacki said.

Union County detectives said five teenagers from 16-18 years old, all living in or near Hunter Oaks, were responsible for a string of crimes from June through August, taking everything from cars to guns and even ice cream bars from the neighborhood swim club.

“You start adding up all the damage and the amount of stuff that they stole -- it's pretty substantial,” said Capt. Ronnie Whitaker.

Whitaker said a neighbor who found a stolen bicycle helped point detectives toward the suspects, who were arrested Wednesday and charged with a long list of crimes including stealing cars, breaking into cars and larceny.

The father of one of those suspects told Eyewitness News his son was sorry for what happened.

“It's a tragedy. It's a nightmare for any parent who has kids,” he said.

Nightmare is exactly the word that some of his neighbors might use after two months of wondering whose home or car would be next.

“We don't feel like we can leave our garage door open.  Just a total violation,” Lopacki said.

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