It happened again. For the second time in four months, local teenagers entered an empty house in town and partied while the homeowners were away.
On Friday, Oct. 25, police arrested four teenage boys — two 14-year-olds and two 15-year-olds — and charged them with breaking and entering a dwelling after they allegedly broke into a home on Cherry Lane earlier last week. A similar incident took place in July at a Fireside Drive home.
Police said the boys charged in the Cherry Lane break-in routinely met the homeowners’ son before school; police said the boys would gather at the Cherry Lane home before class and walk together to the school.
One day last week, the boys met at the Cherry Lane home as usual, but not all of them continued on to class. Some reportedly lagged behind, telling the others they would catch-up with them later.
According to Barrington Police Chief John LaCross, the four individuals charged went back to the house after the homeowners left for work and broke in. One boy reportedly shoved open a garage window and hoisted himself through. He then entered the house through a door in the garage and let the others in also.
Once inside the home, the teenagers ate the homeowners’ food, drank beers from the refrigerator, smoked marijuana that they had brought with them, watched movies and played video games. Police believe the boys were inside the home for between 2 and 3 hours. Once the homeowners returned to the house later in the day they discovered “a mess” and could smell marijuana.
Detectives are also investigating some thefts that allegedly occurred during the incident; police said the boys stole $90 in cash, gift cards and a bicycle.
Chief LaCross said he was disappointed by the recent incident and thought that the situation that took place on Fireside Drive in July would have acted as a warning to local teenagers. In that incident, a group of teens entered a house after the homeowners went on vacation and partied off-and-on for the better part of a week.
“I would hope that an incident of that magnitude (it garnered national media attention) would have had a lot of parents engaging in conversations with their children about how that behavior would never be tolerated,” he said.
“It’s disappointing, to say the least.”
Chief LaCross said that while the Fireside Drive homeowners’ son had given a friend permission to enter his house, that was not the case on Cherry Lane. He said the Cherry Lane residents’ son had never given permission to anyone to enter his home.
The police chief also noted the ages of the individuals involved. In both incidents — Fireside Drive and Cherry Lane — young teenagers (14 and 15 years old) were charged.
“If you have children in this age group, you need to sit down over dinner and talk to them about these things, about what the consequences would be if they were involved,” he said. “It appears that … freshmen and sophomores seem to be involved with a lot of the illegal activity.
“It’s the entitlement, to break in and then to steal from them… These parents (Cherry Lane homeowners) would give the kids snacks before they headed off to school.”
Chief LaCross said his department was still determining whether to send the cases to Rhode Island Family Court or to the town’s juvenile hearing board.