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Johnson County homeowner holds joyriding teen vandals at gunpoint

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. – A joyride resulted in four Johnson County teens getting in trouble with the law.

The suspects were caught red-handed vandalizing a man’s front yard before being confronted by that homeowner at gunpoint. The sheriff says the teens were videotaping themselves doing donuts and tearing up the owner's grass.

After being victimized by joyriding vandals a week ago, the homeowner put up a no trespassing sign, but when the same teens returned this weekend to commit the same crime, the homeowner ordered all the teens to the ground at gunpoint and held them there until officers arrived.

“The homeowner detained the juveniles with a firearm. To be honest we prefer it not be handled that way, but the property owner had the right to do what he did,” said Johnson County sheriff Doug Cox.

In recent weeks, Johnson County deputies have taken numerous reports of cars and homes being spray painted. It’s not believed those crimes are connected to the joyriding teens, but the sheriff says it’s always safer for anyone that sees vandalism taking place to call 911 instead of confronting suspects with guns.

“We would prefer it be handled without firearms because lot of bad things can happen, but we’re not going to be hard on the homeowner because he had the right to protect himself and his property,” said Cox.

The damage to the front yard could also lead to criminal charges against the mother of one of the teens, who investigators say used poor judgment by allowing her son to take her car.

“That criminal mischief would not have happened if the mother had done the right thing and told son not to take the car without a drivers license,” said Cox.

Three of the teens were charged with trespassing. The driver is also facing charges of criminal mischief and driving without a license.