ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A woman who said she was terrorized by teenage criminals several times tells FOX 5, she's afraid the juvenile thieves will strike again.
"They may look like innocent children. They're not," said Lisa Arnold, who had her purse, identity then car stolen in a span of just days. She wants to warn other women in the Metro how juvenile offenders will prey on and target women.
"I don't feel safe," she said after the police said a 14-year-old juvenile offender was sent home the same day after he was arrested on charges for stealing and crashing her car.
She reached out to FOX 5 after seeing her stolen and totaled car on our broadcast. Police said December 5, two 14-year-olds and a 19-year-old led Georgia State Patrol on a pursuit and crashed her vehicle.
Arnold tells FOX 5 the frightening ordeal started days before, when December 2, she was filling her car up at the Sam's Club gas station; Chamblee police said "slider" thieves snatched her purse, taking her wallet and her car keys.
She tells FOX 5, minutes later, $500 was taken from one of her financial accounts.
After bringing her car to her dealer to replace the push start key fob, she thought the thieves wouldn't get to her car in her Buckhead parking garage. She said she requested that a neighbor block in her vehicle.
On the morning of December 4, her car was gone.
December 5, when Atlanta Police spotted the stolen vehicle, it ultimately fled from Georgia State Patrol and crashed on the I-75 at University Avenue ramp. The chase and crash shut down the southbound lanes of the Downtown Connector for some time.
Chamblee Police said the apprehended teenagers are "persons of interest" in the slider crime in their city.
Atlanta Police called the 14-year-old driver's punishment "frustrating": after the juvenile was taken by officers to the Fulton County youth detention center, he was not forced to go to jail by the court system, and was immediately released back to his parents.
"To have them turned over to a guardian and not go to jail that night is something very frustrating to us," said Sgt. John Chafee on December 11. "It brings up the concern whether they're going to be out doing the same type of thing... We end up encountering them involved in criminal activity again," Chafee said, noting the continued concern over repeat juvenile offenders throughout Fulton County.
The Fulton County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case. Paul Howard tells FOX 5 in a statement, "The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office is pursuing a strategy focused on juvenile repeat offenders who have committed three or more crimes. Our office is working with several different community partners on early intervention to ultimately alter the lifestyle of these repeat juvenile offenders."
"To come into your home and take your car-- it's not theirs to take," Arnold said, hoping lawmakers can make changes to the juvenile justice system.