Police Department Facing Juvenile Car Theft Spike Issues Stern Warning To Parents

Police in Batesville, Mississippi issued a stern warning to parents throughout the city Thursday, stating they could be held liable alongside their juvenile children if such children were charged with car theft and/or burglary.

A group of juveniles are prowling the city’s neighborhoods and rifling through cars left unlocked for “money, guns, and valuables to take,” or in some cases stealing the cars outright, Batesville Police Chief Kerry Pitman said in a statement.

“We are going to figure out who you are, and when we do, you will be charged with the crimes you have committed,” Pitman warned the juveniles, per the statement.

“Parents and guardians of the juveniles, when your juvenile is charged with these crimes, please be advised that you are going to also be charged with Contributing to Deliquency [sic] or Neglect of a Child,” Pitman added.

Such parents and guardians would also be responsible for any damage resulting from the crimes, and if their juvenile child committed a felony, then they also would face felony charges, the statement noted. (RELATED: Burglar Group Breaks Into More Than 12 Homes And Steals Almost 10 Cars, Police Say)

“You’re a parent. You’re responsible for what your juvenile child does. And so under the child neglect law of Mississippi, you can charge the parent for something the child does,” Pitman said to WREG News 3.

Police arrested two teenagers aged 15 and 17 in July in Hattiesburg, over 200 miles south of Batesville, for allegedly invading a home they did not realize belonged to a deputy sheriff, Magnolia State Live reported. The suspects were also reportedly under investigation for a possible link to a car theft in the area.