Arrest affidavits reveal details about teens who broke into a home in Fort Pierce. ELLIOTT JONES/TCPALM
ST. LUCIE COUNTY — They’re teens after money, cars and guns.
St. Lucie County last week experienced a case similar to what police departments in Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton have been seeing: groups of juveniles stealing cars and burglarizing several homes, according to arrest affidavits.
A group of six South Florida teens, ages 14 to 16, are accused of stealing $200,000, a Porsche and guns from a north Hutchinson Island home. Police said they drove to Fort Pierce on April 27 in a stolen SUV.
Arrest affidavits available Wednesday didn’t specify why the Fort Pierce area was picked for a daytime break-in of a house on the beach.
According to police, the $200,000 taken was a man’s life savings.
Afterward, one teen used some of the cash to buy expensive cars for his mother and relatives and to get gold teeth for himself, according to arrest affidavits.
Another teen said his share of the money was stolen from him after he returned to South Florida.
St. Lucie County sheriff’s officials arrested the accused six Fort Lauderdale youths Monday, and they’re in the St. Lucie County Jail. They are: Jeremiah Laplace, 15; Michael Bush, 14; Joshua Sargeant, 14; Rural Scott, 15; Shomari Smith, 14; and Walter Walker, 16.
Smith was already in custody in Fort Lauderdale on separate charges of burglary and grand theft auto.
The first break in the St. Lucie County case came May 3. Delray Beach police officers found items that had been in a wall safe in the Fort Pierce house. The items were in a stolen vehicle containing paperwork with Laplace’s name on it.
On May 10, St. Lucie sheriff’s officials learned Laplace was in custody in Delray Beach on other criminal charges.
‘Had a good feeling’
When investigators asked Laplace about the St. Lucie County break-in, he told them it started with him and “his boys” being in a Motel 6 in Pompano Beach, according to police reports.
There, he talked with them about going to “hit a house up north near Orlando.”
They wanted to get away from their own area, Laplace told investigators.
According to police reports and arrest affidavits, here’s what happened in St. Lucie County:
The boys drove north on Interstate 95 in a Hyundai Sante Fe stolen from Delray Beach.
In the Fort Pierce area they headed toward the beach and at first they stopped near an unidentified duplex. Then, according to Smith, Sargeant picked a house in the 200 block of Marina Drive “because he had a good feeling” about it.
They knocked on doors in the neighborhood to see whether anyone was home. No one answered. Scott stayed outside as a lookout because ”he had already been through (a burglary),” according to reports.
About 2 p.m., they backed the SUV into the driveway in case they needed to make a quick getaway, if police arrived.
The doors were unlocked; Bush took a safe from the wall in the kitchen.
Sargeant, who called himself ”Scarface,” grabbed two loaded handguns, saying ”one for grandma, one for me,” according to the reports.
Smith drove off with the Porsche because Walker couldn’t drive. Despite being 14 years old and considered the “little brother,” Smith was thought of as being the best driver among them.
The homeowner returned at 3 p.m. to find the garage open and a safe, guns and car missing.
About 2:45 p.m. the Porsche Cayman — valued in excess of $50,000 — was seen going west on the North Causeway Bridge.
All of them met up outside a Marathon gas station in the 1800 block of North U.S. 1, Fort Pierce, where a witness saw them showing off lots of cash they found after prying the safe open.
Money was scattered inside the Hyundai.
When Smith saw people looking at them, he said, “We’re going to jail soon, might as well have a little fun,” according to investigators.
According to Smith, Bush used his money to buy a four-wheel vehicle. Sergeant bought a new Audi A4 for his mother.
Scott, according to the affidavits, gave $40,000 to his mother.
The guns ended up in a garbage can at a Fort Lauderdale mall.
The Porsche was found in Delray Beach several days after the house burglary.
The boys are to be tried as adults. They are charged with burglary of a structure while armed, grand theft, grand theft of a firearm and grand theft of a motor vehicle.
Smith and Scott are being held without bail. The others are being held in lieu of bail ranging from $210,000 to $250,000. All but Scott have confessed, according to sheriff’s officials.
TCPalm.com customarily does not name juveniles accused of crimes. It does name some juveniles depending on the seriousness of the crime, their age, aggravating circumstances and other factors.