Two Key West High School students who are varsity athletes, stole $2,000 worth of iPhones and iPods from 13 of their peers and were arrested on felony charges, according to police department reports released Monday.
The two boys, a 16-year-old junior and a 17-year-old senior, were arrested Friday on suspicion of felony grand theft after Principal Amber Archer Bosco and a teacher decided to call police.
Both were booked as juveniles and taken into custody as such, kept separate from adult suspects, said police spokeswoman Alyson Crean.
"They are juveniles and they will be treated as juveniles," said Crean.
Florida law, however, makes public the names of juvenile suspects arrested on felony charges.
The Citizen only names juveniles arrested on felony charges connected to violence.
The case began Thursday evening when police were called to the campus at 2100 Flagler Ave., where band director Gary Hernandez met with them, the incident report says.
Hernandez said he learned of the thefts after leading band practice from 3 to 5 p.m. on the field behind the school.
Members of the band returned to the band room shortly before 5 p.m. to find their bags and purses unzipped and emptied of cash and items. Thefts were also reported by members of the wrestling team who had left their stuff in the weight room.
The loot included two iPhones, three iPods, a Samsung Galaxy phone, and a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, which run between $180 and $300 brand new.
Video footage taken by two surveillance cameras showed the two suspects entering the band room, police said.
The next day, Friday, the 17-year-old senior was brought to the police station by his father and then taken to the county sheriff's department on Stock Island. A police officer was sent to the 16-year-old junior's home, where he was arrested and taken into custody.
"All victims want to press charges against the defendants," the police report said.
"Some property was recovered by the police and the persons assisting with the investigation," said Bosco, reached Monday. "The band director called. They had several things stolen; it wasn't one item. I gave the band director the go-ahead to call the police."
Security camera footage led to the identification of the two suspects, police said.
Neither boy attended school Monday, said Bosco.
The boys were arrested Friday and taken to the police station and then to the juvenile detention center on Stock Island, said Crean.
The juvenile justice system seeks to rehabilitate children rather than punish them.
Florida, however, is one of the many states that allows prosecutors to file charges in criminal court against juveniles 16 and older accused of felonies. Stricter rules exist for children 14 and older charged with violent felonies or homicide.
So far, nothing indicates that the two Key West High boys will end up in the adult court system.
"You can, but I'm not inclined to do that in a case like that," said State Attorney Dennis Ward, whose office was closed Monday for Rosh Hashanah and said the case hasn't gotten to his team yet. "At 17 you're still a juvenile."
In addition to the legal system, both boys will face disciplinary proceedings at the high school, Bosco said.
"Regardless of what they've done, we're going to make sure they keep (up with) their education," said Bosco. "That's why we have alternative education, so they don't lose out and they're in a regular school environment."
The boys' consequences could also include harm to their athletic careers.
"They could lose some playing time or even a season," said Bosco.