Teens terrorize southern coast

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A gang of delinquent teenagers, some as young as 14, have been on a crime spree that police are struggling to stop. An estimated 16 boys are behind 666 criminal acts but it’s hard to lock them up under Norwegian law.

Police reported this week that fully 22 of 48 robberies in the Kristiansand area so far this year have been committed by the teenage boys. They have assaulted and robbed bus drivers, gas station operators and kiosk clerks, and even resorted to bank robbery.

They have stolen cars, vandalized property and proudly told police upon capture that they “get a kick” out of committing crimes. All 16 boys are aged 14 to 16.

On Thursday, a court in Kristiansand decided that a 15-year-old boy who robbed a bus outside Kristiansand will be placed in a special form of custody under the auspices of Norway’s child protective services (barnevernet). Leaders of the service, though, pointed out on the nightly national news on NRK that they aren’t equipped to deal with criminals, and rather are set up to take care of troubled children.

The 15-year-old has told police he would rather go to prison. He confessed to the bus robbery, which he claimed was motivated by a desire for money.

Not only did he say he was excited by his crimes, but he told police that he didn’t care whether the bus driver was injured during the assault and robbery. “To hear something like that, from such a young boy, shakes you up,” one police officer told NRK.

Among the 16 gang members, nine have been placed in institutions around the southern coast. Two are currently in police custody while a court decides what to do with them, and five have been placed with legal guardians. Norwegian law doesn’t allow persons under the age of 16 to be placed in prison.

Views and News staff