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Juveniles arrested on gun, burglary charges

At least one linked to drive-by shooting

Five male juveniles were arrested this week after the Webster County Sheriff’s Office said they burglarized a rural Lehigh residence, stealing eight guns.

The Sheriff’s Office arrested the five boys, described by Sheriff Jim Stubbs as high-school aged, over several days this week, charging them with burglary, possession of stolen property and trafficking stolen firearms — a Class C felony, Class C felony and Class D felony, respectively.

On Feb. 9, the Sheriff’s Office was called to the rural Lehigh home regarding the burglary of a resident’s workshop, where guns of various sizes and calibers, ammunition and other items were reported stolen.

The next day, detectives from the Sheriff’s Office and Fort Dodge Police Department received information on the whereabouts of one of the stolen guns. After recovering one stolen gun, detectives executed multiple search warrants gained from new leads in numerous homes where the guns were being stored, eventually recovering all but one of the stolen firearms.

One of the boys arrested Monday, age 15, was connected by FDPD to a drive-by shooting in the 1200 block of South 25th Street on Feb. 11. That juvenile was charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon and going armed with intent, a Class C and Class D felony, respectively. Further charges in relation to the shooting are expected for others in the group of five, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Information given to police initially indicated that a dark-colored sedan was believed to be involved in the shooting, which police did not locate immediately. No injuries occurred, though minimal damage to the house’s vinyl siding, struck three times, was sustained.

Witnesses described the vehicle arriving to the area, stopping in front of the home around 7:48 p.m., and shooting before fleeing the scene. Police believe most of the people in the car, if not all, were minors.

“It is concerning in the fact that we are investigating individuals of such a young age being involved in such significant crimes,” said Capt. Ryan Gruenberg, public information officer for FDPD. “It seems as though we are coming across more and more young people being involved with firearms investigations.”

During subsequent searches of those locations, law enforcement also recovered three other stolen firearms, unrelated to the Lehigh burglary.

All five juveniles are being held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Eldora. It is unclear whether their charges will be waived to adult court.

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