Teens Suspected Of Stealing Street Dept. Vehicles

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Four male teens have been arrested in connection with stealing and totaling a Pea Ridge street department pickup after crashing into an arch in Gateway.

Two 14-year-olds, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old from Pea Ridge went to the Benton County Juvenile Detention Center and face felony charges, according to Pea Ridge Police Chief Tim Ledbetter.

The teens are suspected of stealing two maintenance vehicles from the gated street department early Saturday (Jan. 18) morning, according to Ledbetter.

Police said the juveniles broke a window and rummaged around in the street department building until they found keys.

Two of the teens were on probation and one had court-ordered community service at the street department. Ledbetter said that's how the juveniles knew the layout of the department.

Officials may look at how to prevent another break in, but didn't have a specific plan of action.

At 2:30 a.m., Pea Ridge authorities got a report of a damaged Pea Ridge vehicle in Gateway. The pickup had crashed into an arch at the entrance of the city's park.

The arch is made of two natural stone, 20 foot pillars with metal connecting them that reads "Gateway City Park".

The teens are accused of knocking over a chain-link fence and doing donuts in the park, according to officials.

Gateway Mayor Frank Hackler said the city estimates $10,680 in repairs to the arch, with an additional $528 for the fence and $300 for miscellaneous clean-up and repair.

Insurance on the vehicles may cover some of the repair cost, according to Hackler.

"They’re going to check into how much will be covered through the municipal league," he said. "Other than that it will be out of the taxpayers pocket, here in the city of Gateway."

The Gateway city council will meet and discuss whether or not to press charges against the teens, according to Hackler.

Hackler said the arch was built in 1998 with the intention to be a historic landmark for Gateway.

"My heart is probably going more out to Gateway," Ledbetter said. "We lost a truck which is going to be a headache for us, but this was something more personal for them."

The totaled pickup could cost Pea Ridge more than $10,000 to repair. The other pickup was found undamaged on Greer Street. Ledbetter said the keys had been thrown in the road.

Two teens were arrested Jan. 24 and the other two were arrested on Jan. 25 and Jan. 27. Three face felony theft of property, felony breaking and entering and misdemeanor criminal mischief and one faces felony breaking and entering.


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