County-wide juvenile crime spree, some of the suspects as young as 11 years old

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A county-wide crime spree that’s only getting worse. The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies updated the public in a press conference on Tuesday, August 29, on the crimes continuing to happen throughout the county.

A spree of brazen and dangerous crimes popping up across Onondaga County, being committed by juveniles from the Syracuse area.

“The suspects involved are ranging in ages from 11 to 17,” said Onondaga County Sheriff Toby Shelley.

From August 1 to August 23, a group of individuals stole or attempted to steal 216 vehicles. 155 of those vehicles are Kia’s and Hyundai’s.

“Since January 1 in 2023, we’ve had 1,070 stolen vehicles in Onondaga County, and 50% of those stolen vehicles are Kia’s or Hyundai’s. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve recovered 71 stolen firearms. That’s a 122% increase from the year 2022. Since mid-June, we’ve had in 2023, we’ve had 40 smoke shops burglarized,” said Shelley.

Just last week, a large group of individuals broke their way into Driver’s Village, proceeded to find keys to the cars in the showroom, and then drove them directly through the front door of the building.

Investigators say it’s not just one group of individuals committing these crimes but multiple groups competing with one another.

“Through our investigation, the State Police, the Syracuse city police, we were able to determine that groups get together, and it becomes a competition for them. They are comparing vehicles that they have stolen. They are trying to one-up each other. Guns seem to be the ultimate goal and prize amongst these groups” said Jesse Welch, Lieutenant and Criminal Investigations at Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say only some of these suspects are in custody. Others are still on the loose.

“If you think it’s not going to happen to you, with the trend that we’re seeing right now, it’s probably going to happen to you, or if not your neighborhood,” said Chief Steve Rotunno, Cicero Police Department.

“That’s why I am asking people to be more vigilant. I mean you can only lock your car so much. You can only secure your house so much, and these people are still breaking in and doing stuff. We need to be vigilant and take care of each other. If you see something, say something,” Shelley said.

Law enforcement is urging the public to help in any way they can.

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office providing the statistics below:

81/23 – 8/23/23 – 216 stolen and attempted vehicles in Onondaga County. 155 – Kia/Hyundai.

Year-to-date – 1070 stolen vehicles in Onondaga County appx 50% are Kia and Hyundai

Year-to-date – OCSO has recovered 71 firearms (up from 32 YTD 2022) 122% increase

40 Smoke shop burglaries outside Syracuse since mid-June

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