CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police busted up a property crime ring, arresting eight teenagers for stealing cars, guns and cash around South End in a crime series that started in August. 

Police say the teens were caught on camera in some cases, targeting businesses and people living at apartment complexes, and every single one of them is a repeat offender. 

Investigators say not only are the teens responsible for multiple crimes in this spree, but they’ve all done it before. And police say they just keep getting arrested with no real consequences. 

There are very few signs left of the damage police say was done by the 13-to-17-year-olds. 

“They would say it’s an adrenaline rush,” said CMPD Det. Jesse Rubino. “A lot of times these kids would get a car, drive to another part of town to impress some girls, which is what they said, and then they’d just dump it and go for the next one.” 

Police say the teens would work almost like a work shift, operating from 1-5 a.m. 

“We’d be interviewing them at 11 a.m., sometimes we’d go to the school and get them, and we’d say, ‘Man, you’re tired,’” said Rubino. “’You’re tired because you’ve been up all night stealing stuff.” 

Police say the teens hit the parking garages in the South End apartment complexes. 

At the gated complexes, police say they would jump underneath the gates or pull them open and go through cars, taking computers and guns or just steal the whole car. 

Investigators say the teens also broke into the following establishments, stealing cash and damaging property: 

  • Chick-fil-A 
  • Bossy Beulah’s Chicken Shack 
  • Penn Station Subs 
  • Suffolk Punch

The joyride ended abruptly with police arresting the teens for about 16 different crimes. 

“Out of the eight that we identified, all already had a juvenile arrest history from other crimes,” said Rubino. “Unfortunately, what it tells us is the punishment’s not fitting the crime.” 

Police say almost as soon as they make an arrest, the judicial system sends the teens back out on the streets. 

“It’s frustrating,” said Rubino. “It’s frustrating especially when you make this juvenile arrest on somebody, let’s say three times in one week and sometimes we might get woken up on an ‘all call’ situation and we come in because a juvenile was caught again and we say, ‘Listen this is the third time this week this juvenile arrested for the same crime.” 

He continued: “What can we do about it?’ And they say, ‘You have to give them back to mom and dad.’ It’s very frustrating for us.” 

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Investigators say they’re still looking through surveillance video to determine if this same group of teens is connected to other crimes in the last month and a half in this same area. 

Police are urging people not to leave guns in cars. They say one gun can exchange hands five times in just 24 hours, and those guns can be used in violent crimes like murders and armed robberies.