9-Yr-Olds Confessed to String of Burglaries

July 9, 2009 6:40:36 PM PDT
Regina Ponomarenko returned to her Coarsegold home Tuesday night and found several things that didn't belong to her. "We found about $500 in cash, Lego toys." And a puppy. Then she realized someone had gone through her belongings. "Went upstairs and through every drawer in the house. They got in candy jars and ate candy, opened the refrigerator looked for things to eat. Found some pellet guns and hid the guns and the toys in the back of the closet. So they spent quite a bit of time inside our house."Erica Stuart with the Madera County Sheriff's Department said the unlikely suspects are two 9 year old boys from the neighborhood and both confessed to a string of burglaries. "You've got two 9 year old boys who break into one house steal money, break into a second house, steal a puppy and break into a third house to stash both the cash and the dog."

Investigators couldn't figure out how the boys got in the homes because there was no forced entry. But deputies say the boys fessed up about that too. Regina Ponomarenko said, "They entered through the gate, crawled through to the far end." The hole that the 9 year old crawled in through is actually a cat door that's only 10 inches long and 7 inches wide.

Ponomarenko said she feels, "Very violated, very violated." But to find out that its not the first time, they've been watching us whenever we leave they would come inside the house. They've done it before.

Investigators say they got caught this time because one kid went back to one of the homes he broke into and asked the homeowner for the walkie talkie he'd left behind. Deputies want burglary charges filed against both boys. Erica Stuart said, "The puppy was fine, the cash was returned but the bottom line is you broke in three homes. You broke the law!"

Madera County's District Attorney told me he hasn't seen the report yet, but his office and the juvenile probation department will decide whether to file charges against the 9 year olds. If so, then the kids will have a hearing where the judge, not a jury, decides if the allegations are true and what, if any, the punishment will be.

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