Grier Heights residents send letter to judge about teen arrested after crime spree

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Members of a neighborhood in Charlotte delivered a letter to the Mecklenburg County Courthouse Monday morning after a 15-year-old was arrested the week before after an alleged crime spree.

Community members in the Grier Heights neighborhood say they are familiar with the teen that was arrested. They say he has been committing crimes long before his most recent arrest.

"He is a lawless individual that puts everyone at danger. The Department of Social Services should be involved. The Department of Juvenile Justice should be involved," said Marcus Philemon, a resident of Grier Heights.

Police say the 15-year-old was caught breaking into cars in the parking lot of a business on Monroe Road. When employees confronted him, the teen opened fire. He later carjacked a woman at gunpoint before leading police on a chase that ended in a crash.

"Because he is not held accountable for these lower-level crimes his boldness has escalated to violent crimes," said Philemon.

Philemon delivered the letter which urged a judge to keep the teen locked up for the protection of the community.

"If they do let him out, it would not only be the wrong message to the juvenile but it absolutely sends the wrong message to the community that you really do not care about the community's safety," said Philemon.

"Everybody wants to get money, get money, get money. But they don't work," said Anthony Ferguson, a neighbor. "They break into houses and steal people's stuff and that is how they make their money."

Ferguson says he knows the teen well and has been asked multiple times to help the juvenile and his friends with crimes.

"'Let's go make some money. You got a car? That is all you need. You do not have to get out of the car,'" Ferguson recalled.

Ferguson has chosen not to involve himself with that group. Instead, he is earning his degree in broadcast journalism.

"That would be my message - there is another way. Stop following the crowd," said Ferguson.

Philemon and others hope the letter is taken seriously and that action is taken to cut down on the crime.

"We just enlightened you. Now it is up to you to do what you were elected to do and protect the citizens of Mecklenburg County," said Philemon.

Neighbors claim the same teen has stolen mail, broken into homes, and broken into cars.

A police source confirms that the teen the neighbors mentioned is the juvenile that was arrested last week. The teen was in court on Monday but, because he is a juvenile, no information about his hearing was released.

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