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Stupid Case File for March 18, 2007

Stealing while performing court-orderd community service ...

Courtesy of Journal Inquirer

MANCHESTER - A Hartford teenager was in his first hours of doing court-ordered community service Wednesday at the police station when he managed to get arrested, police said.

The teenager, whose name wasn't released because of his age, is accused of stealing two Tasers from a training room that he was assigned to clean, Sgt. Christopher Davis said today.

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Police quickly deduced who probably had taken the Tasers and questioned the teen, Davis said.

The teen admitted that he took the Tasers and hid them in the basement of the station. He told police he wanted them for his personal protection because he lives in Hartford, Davis said.

The teen was charged with fourth-degree larceny and carrying a dangerous weapon. He was held in lieu of $20,000 bond and was to be arraigned in Superior Court today.

The teen, who was arrested in December on a charge of breach of peace, was ordered by a Superior Court judge to do community service work as his sentence, Davis said.

The teen arrived at the police station at 6 a.m. Wednesday for his first day of community service work, Davis said.

The training room that the teen was assigned to clean had been used the previous day for Taser instruction, Davis said.

Tuesday night, officers took an inventory of the Tasers before leaving them in plain cardboard boxes in the training room. Inside those boxes, the Tasers were placed in smaller marked boxes, Davis said.

When officers arrived in the room at about 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, an instructor saw that a box had been rummaged through, Davis said. They took another inventory, realized that two Tasers were missing, and alerted the detective unit of the department, Davis said.

For years, the community service program has been successful at the police station, Davis said. The program promotes the idea of having youthful offenders give back to the communities where they were arrested, Davis said.

"Unfortunately this individual didn't heed his opportunity for a second chance," Davis said.

He said he can't predict what the courts will do, but added, "I think it's safe to say another sentence of community service is off the table."

Davis said the department will review the community service program's policies.

"The main goal, obviously, is to make sure this never happens again," he said.

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