Local investigators seeing more young people involved in crimes

MARION COUNTY, Ind.—Some prosecutors and police say they're seeing more young people committing crimes, including violent cases.

Cumberland police investigators said they're trying to identify two people caught on surveillance video after a robbery at the Speedway Convenience Store on N. German Church Rd. Sunday, and three caught on surveillance after the robbery of a Speedway Convenience Store on E. Washington St. in October.

Investigators said they're looking into whether there's any connection.

"We do believe there's youth, anywhere from 14 to 18 years old," Cumberland Metropolitan Police Department Commander Chris Etherton said.

Etherton said they're seeing teens at the center of more crimes.

"They don't just do petty thefts anymore, they just jump right to the hardcore crimes," Etherton said.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office said it's seeing more young people committing more violent crimes.

"The biggest thing is when you look at the date of birth and you see someone who's so young you just wonder, you know, how did we get into this particular situation," Marion County chief trial deputy prosecutor Ryan Mears said.

Mears said the situation will require the community coming together.

"Our approach is changing in the sense that we're gonna continue to reach out to the 14, 15, 16 year old kids but we're also gonna go try to hit kids that are younger than that so the first time they encounter a prosecutor or a police officer, hopefully it's in a positive light," he said.

Tuesday, Lawrence Police said the robbery of a Dollar General Tuesday landed three people, including a 17 and 18 year old, in custody. Investigators said they're all facing a preliminary charge of armed robbery.

"We've seen cycle of that before so to necessarily say we're seeing an upswing in that I can't necessarily say that," Lawrence Police Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff said.

Cumberland police investigators said they're trying to figure out if there's any connection to their recent case.

"We don't know if it's a group or just isolated incidents," Etherton said.

The prosecutor's office said there are resources available to help parents who might have an issue with their child, and that it constantly looks for partnerships. Mears said they have a gun violence education program and cyber safe presentation program. You can learn more information here.

Editor’s note: Commander Etherton’s name is spelled wrong in the video above. It has been corrected in the body of this story.