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NEWS UPDATE: Nelsonville teen charged with 129 felonies
Law enforcement officials, area residents and the neighbors of a 13-year-old Nelsonville boy charged with more than 100 felonies say they think rehabilitation, not incarceration, is the most appropriate consequence for the teenager.
Andrew Riley faces more than 140 counts of burglary, theft, vandalism, receiving stolen property and other delinquent acts stemming from nine separate incidents during the past year. Of those charges, 120 are felonies related to the finding of four stolen checkbooks.
Police say Riley is a suspect in two break-ins at a local caf+
it sure didn't surprise me any
said Tammy Glick, who said neighbors had suspected the 13-year-old of breaking garage windows and stealing bicycles in recent years.<br /><br />Bill Glick said Riley was fairly polite when the two had conversations in passing on the street and he thought rehabilitation and extra support were what the teen needed.<br /><br />The Glicks said they often hear their neighbors shouting and arguing and estimated that local police visited the house about every other week. <br /><br />Nelsonville Police Chief David Redecker said his department's file on the case is several inches thick. <br /><br /><b>Stolen goods</b><br /><br />Police executing a search warrant earlier this month at Riley's home found a cache of stolen items, including knives, video games, hunting attire, jewelry and coats, Downs said. Officers also found four check books reported stolen from a 77-year-old man and two cell phones reported stolen from another house.<br /><br />Seven people, including Riley's uncle, a convicted felon; two boys, ages 9 and 11; and a 5-year-old girl were living in the house. Two days after the search, the uncle was arrested on a warrant for an arson charge, Downs said.<br /><br />The residence was heated by electric space heaters and had only two beds. Police also found a 54-inch flat screen television on which they had seen Riley regularly playing the video game <i>Grand Theft Auto: Vice City</i>, he said.<br /><br />Florida lawyer John B. Thompson, an activist for non-violent video gaming, asserted in a new release last week that the video game's violence allowed Riley to rehearse the crimes of which he is accused. <br /><br />Riley was not home at the time of the search, which occurred after a 15-year-old claiming to be an accomplice of Riley told police details that only a person present during a crime could know, Downs said. The boy offered no motive for coming forward.<br /><br />Police found about 80 percent of the stolen items that the teenager claimed they would find at Riley's home, he said. He believes the remaining goods might have been sold.<br /><br /><b> Other charges </b><br /><br />Days after the search, a video camera on Riley's school bus captured him pinning the 15-year-old into a seat and beating him up. For that alleged beating, Riley was charged with witness intimidation and expelled from school, where he has a reputation for bullying, Downs said.<br /><br />The 15-year-old faces 11 charges, including two felonies, said assistant county Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, who is prosecuting the case. One felony charge and one misdemeanor have also been filed against Riley's 11-year-old brother.<br /><br />Riley's mother and her boyfriend, who lives in the house, could not be reached for comment. His biological father is incarcerated for aggravated robbery, kidnapping, intimidating a witness and other charges and likely has little involvement in his son's life, Downs said.<br /><br /><b>A storeowner speaks </b><br /><br />The boy's residence is minutes down the street from the town square, where several of Riley's alleged crimes occurred.<br /><br />Miki Brooks, who owns FullBrooks Caf+
she said. <br /><br />Still, she thinks rehabilitation would be the ideal consequence. By virtue of the fact that he didn't vandalize my store and just took some money
I think there's some hope for him
she said. Is it wrong for him to have done these things? Absolutely. But he could have done a lot worse.<br /><br />Brooks said she is disappointed that the town whose quaint charm she's tried to promote for years has become the focus of a negative media spotlight.<br /><br />She was shocked to see herself on state and national television news programs and said she wonders how the media attention will affect the teenager.<br /><br />Being a gangster is sort of looked up to
she said, explaining her worries that all the attention will backfire and encourage Riley.<br /><br />A pre-trial hearing in the case is set for Mar. 26.