ROGERSVILLE - A couple of Rogersville lads are learning at a young age that crime doesn't pay, as local police nabbed the boys ages 8 and 10 Sunday night after they allegedly broke into at least 12 vehicles in a local apartment complex parking lot.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, Rogersville police responded to the burglary complaints at the Western Heights apartment complex on Arrowhead Drive. Officers were told by witnesses that the boys' parents had been there not long after the burglaries looking for them. Officers eventually discovered that the boys were hiding in a nearby wooded area.
Rogersville Police Department Officer Chad Christian said he and other officers followed a trail of stolen property that had apparently dropped out of the boys' arms as they ran through the woods.
The trail led to a barn where the boys were found attempting to light a large stuffed toy rabbit and some shirts on fire with a lighter that had been stolen out of a car.
The boys, who live in another nearby apartment complex, allegedly entered 12 cars in the Western Heights complex parking lot and "took anything they could get their hands on," Christian said.
Christian said they only actually stole out of four cars, however, taking things like lighters, matches, compact discs, a set of car keys and a Gameboy computer game.
"We found most of the stolen items in the woods where they'd dropped them," Christian said. "They took us to all the cars they were getting into. They just went car to car, and if it was open they got into it."
The boys were each cited into Hawkins County Juvenile Court on four counts of auto burglary. Christian said he learned from the juvenile court office that the older boy already has a case pending for allegedly trying to burn down a barn.
Christian said he was surprised by the age of the boys who allegedly committed the burglaries. But he said he was shocked by the language one of the boys used as he was being interviewed.
"The smallest one was cussing like a sailor - just wide open," Christian said. "I've never seen anything like it. First he was trying to lie out of it, saying he didn't do it, and then he tried to blame it on the other boy.
"He (the 8-year-old) was cussing worse than most adults, and I told him, ‘You need to hush up and learn some manners.'"