Salt Lake City Kids Trespassing at School Charged After Being Turned in by Parents

Several Salt Lake City kids trespassing at a school were charged with burglary and fleeing police after being turned in by their parents.

Missing school already

Photo by: haven’t the slightest

A passerby of Edison Elementary School in Salt Lake City alerted police when they observed several kids climbing a ladder to access the roof of the school just before midnight. Police responded and were able to apprehend most of the kids while a few ran off. Soon after the kids who ran came back accompanied by their parents. Authorities discovered the teens had broken a skylight on the roof to access the interior of the building and once inside, had stolen electronic items.The kids who were trespassing at the school after hours and during the off season were charged with burglary. The ones who ran and were caught by the police or their parents were charged with fleeing police.

Trespassing vs burglary

Although the kids had committed trespassing at the school, they were charged instead with burglary.

  • Trespassing – Utah Code 76-2-206 states “A person is guilty of criminal trespass if, under circumstances not amounting to burglary . . . the person enters or remains unlawfully on . . . property and intends to cause annoyance or injury to any person or damage to any property, including the use of graffiti .. . [or] intends to commit any crime, other than theft or a felony”. Since the kids did commit a theft, the trespassing charges are enhanced to burglary.
  • Burglary– According to Utah Code 76-6-202,”An actor is guilty of burglary who enters or remains unlawfully in a building or any portion of a building with intent to commit [a crime such as] a felony [or] a theft”.

Trespassing on building other than a dwelling is a class B misdemeanor. If someone trespasses and steals something, that is burglary and is punished as a third degree felony.

Tough lesson

The teens were booked into a juvenile detention center where they await the repercussions of their actions.It is not known if the kids arrested for burglary had a previous criminal history or if this was just a poor decision made from summer boredom mixed with too much freedom and peer pressure. Regardless, they would greatly benefit from being represented by an experienced juvenile defense attorney.

Teenage Girl Charged With Arson and Damage Of Utah Churches

An 18 year old teenage girl has been charged with arson for arson and damage to multiple churches in Orem, Utah.

Arson and damage to churches

Photo by: Joe Lodge

Two churches in Orem, Utah were damaged by an individual who broke doors and wrote satanic messages in permanent marker. Additionally, someone had poured gasoline in or near both of the churches yet only one had been set on fire. Police were able to quickly extinguish the small fires found within the single church. While attempting to locate the individual responsible, police located 18 year old Jillian Robinson of Lindon, Utah who was in possession of a permanent marker, burglary tools, gasoline, and a lighter. Police determined Robinson to be the one responsible after her possessions matched those possibly used to damage and commit arson to the churches. While originally denying her involvement, Robinson later admitted to police that she was angry and did not target the church specifically.

Arson and other charges

Robinson was booked into the Utah County jail on charges of arson, burglary, possessing burglary tools as well as criminal mischief. Utah Code 76-6-102 states “A person is guilty of arson if, under the circumstances not amounting to aggravated arson, the person by means of fire or explosives unlawfully and intentionally damages . . . the property of another.” Arson is a second degree felony if the damages of the event exceeds $5,000 in value. The damage caused by Robinson is said to be estimated around $600,000. Beyond the second degree arson charge, the 18 year old Robinson is also facing a third degree felony burglary charge as well as additional charges for possessing the burglary tools and criminal mischief.

Dealing with police

Photo by: Scott Davidson

Robinson has already admitted to her crimes and will need a good criminal defense lawyer as she prepares to have her case heard before a judge. Teens and young adults such as Robinson should be educated of their options prior to and following an arrest to avoid unnecessarily incriminating themselves. A couple things to keep in mind:

  • The released information about Robinson’s case does not include whether she consented to a search of her backpack containing the incriminating items or if officers claimed there was reasonable suspicion to suspect her of a crime. Teens should know when they are dealing with police that they have the right to state their lack of consent to a search without getting in the way of police who will search anyway.
  • Records indicated that Robinson agreed to make an incriminating statement to police about her involvement in the arson. It doesn’t state whether or not she agreed to the statement on her own or while accompanied by an attorney. Many young adults and especially teens do not realize that they have the right to request an attorney before they talk to police. Being represented by an attorney will help teens ensure they are being treated fairly and not admitting to more than they should.

Parents of teens and young adults are encouraged to educate their youth on their rights when dealing with police. Being prepared with this knowledge could help teens if they ever should face charges.

15 year old Utah Teen Facing Multiple Charges for Drunk Driving and Aggravated Assault

A 15 year old teen from Ogden Utah was arrested for a drunk driving incident that left multiple vehicles damaged and other individuals assaulted.

Downward spiral

Photo by: Nick Harris

A 15 year old juvenile who is not being named due to his age was driving a car at excessive speeds while intoxicated when he crashed into multiple vehicles before leaving the vehicle and illegally entering a random Ogden home. There he threatened and assaulted the homeowner as well as officers who had arrived on scene. The teen who was behaving in a drunken and aggressive manner is facing multiple charges including breaking and entering, aggravated assault and driving while intoxicated.

Angry teen or drunk teen

Little is known about the teen involved in the story, however it is possible his use of alcohol heightened feelings of anger and aggression which he took out on innocent individuals such as the homeowner. Alcohol has a tendency to affect teenagers and young adults in different ways: Some lose all inhibitions and become more sociable; others are quiet, maybe bordering on melancholy; and many find their anger and aggressiveness peak when they’ve been drinking.

Alcohol and teen aggression

According to the US National Library of Medicine, aggressiveness is very common among adolescents who use alcohol. They state “. . . a relationship between alcohol/drug use and aggressive behavior is apparent” and that “medium to heavy drinkers expect to experience more aggressiveness after drinking.” The also warn that “alcohol plays a significant role in adolescent deaths due to accidents, homicides and suicides, acts of sexual aggression and criminality.” Hopefully the teen involved will be able to soberly evaluate the choices he made while intoxicated and receive the help he needs to mature into a responsible and calmer adult.

Differences between Juvenile Court and Adult Court in Utah

When a teenager in Utah is charged with a crime, it can be handled by either the juvenile court or the adult court and it is important to know the differences between the two.

Juvenile court

Juvenile Court or Adult Court
Photo by: State Farm

Although the juvenile court handles cases of criminal activity by minors, it is a civil court where the goal is not to punish kids but to teach and rehabilitate them while also ensuring that they are not a danger to the community. Utah Code 78A-6-102 states: “The purpose of the [juvenile] court is to:

(a) promote public safety and individual accountability by the imposition of appropriate sanctions on persons who have committed acts in violation of law;

(b) order appropriate measures to promote guidance and control, preferably in the minor’s own home, as an aid in the prevention of future unlawful conduct and the development of responsible citizenship;

(c) where appropriate, order rehabilitation, reeducation, and treatment for persons who have committed acts bringing them within the court’s jurisdiction;

(d) adjudicate matters that relate to minors who are beyond parental or adult control and to establish appropriate authority over these minors by means of placement and control orders;

(e) adjudicate matters that relate to abused, neglected, and dependent children and to provide care and protection for minors by placement, protection, and custody orders;

(f) remove a minor from parental custody only where the minor’s safety or welfare, or the public safety, may not otherwise be adequately safeguarded; and

(g) consistent with the ends of justice, act in the best interests of the minor in all cases and preserve and strengthen family ties.”

Adult criminal court

If a teenager is charged with a felony listed under Utah’s Serious Youth Offender Act (78A-6-7), their case can be transferred to adult court where they can face serious repercussions including hefty fines and lengthy imprisonment. Offenses that are included in the Serious Youth Offender Act include:

• aggravated cases of arson;
• assault;
• kidnapping;
• burglary;
• robbery; and
• sexual assault; as well as
• felony discharge of a firearm;
• attempted aggravated murder; or
• attempted murder; or
• any subsequent offense involving the use of a dangerous weapon;

Juvenile defense attorney

Unfortunately in adult court, it is less lenient that juvenile court and those facing adult criminal charges should expect their sentencing to include more punishment without so much focus on education and rehabilitation. Additionally, once a case goes to adult court, those records which include the juvenile’s name are released to the public. For these reasons, it is imperative that juveniles and their parents and/or guardians seek counsel from a criminal defense attorney who has dealings with both the juvenile court as well as the adult court, and who will try diligently to keep all cases against minors within the juvenile court jurisdiction.

Three Juveniles, One Adult Arrested for Vehicle Burglary Spree

Juvenile vehicle burglary spree
Photo: Kafziel/Wikimedia Commons

Four Cedar City residents, one adult and three juveniles, who were involved in a vehicle burglary spree spanning from August to October were taken into custody in December. On Tuesday, Jan. 20, the adult in the group, 19-year-old Reagan Gurbal accepted a plea agreement for four of the 26 original charges.

Vehicle Burglary from Cedar City to Southern California

According to an article in the Cedar City News, Gurbal seemed to be the ringleader of a group of underage accomplices in the vehicle burglary incidents that allegedly occurred between Aug. 15 and Oct. 18. Cedar City Police connected him to at least 19 of 40 burglaries that took place between those dates, and after being arrested, Gurbal admitted to burglarizing approximately 20-25 vehicles in just one night.

Gurbal allegedly provided a meeting spot for the “gang” to meet both before and after each night of vehicle burglary. At the end of the night, the group would split up the goods stolen during the night. Gurbal also allegedly provided a location to store the stolen goods, which included money, electronics, jewelry, and even firearms.

On Oct. 18, Gurbal and another suspect left Utah and met with other juveniles in Las Vegas, where the vehicle burglary spree continued into Southern California. On Oct. 22, Gurbal and three juveniles—a 14-year-old male, 16-year-old female, and 17-year-old male—were arrested in Victorville, CA.

Gurbal was originally charged with 26 different counts, mostly dealing with theft or burglary, however four of the charges dealt with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His plea agreement was for two class A misdemeanors of vehicle burglary, a third degree felony theft of receiving stolen property, and second degree felony theft charge. Details haven’t been released as to punishment for the juveniles involved in the case.

Vehicle Burglary Doesn’t Require Breaking In

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-6-204, any person who unlawfully enters any vehicle with intent to commit a felony or theft is guilty of vehicle burglary. However, what is important to understand is that it doesn’t require actually breaking into a vehicle; simply reaching through an open car window to take something that doesn’t belong to you falls under this criminal code.

As mentioned in regards to Reagan Gurbal, vehicle burglary is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 if committed by an adult. If your child has been charged with vehicle burglary, be sure to contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney.