UPDATE: 3 Middletown students plead guilty in home burglary case

Four Middletown juveniles allegedly displayed guns and stole guns and jewelry last week out of this house in the 2200 block of Tytus Avenue in Middletown. The four were arrested and have been remanded to the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
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Four Middletown juveniles allegedly displayed guns and stole guns and jewelry last week out of this house in the 2200 block of Tytus Avenue in Middletown. The four were arrested and have been remanded to the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

UPDATE @ 11:05 a.m.

Three of the four Middletown High School allegedly involved in a home burglary plead “true” this morning to the charges in Butler County Juvenile Court.

Two of them plead “true” to aggravated burglary and the third plead “true” to burglary before Judge Ronald Craft. They will be sentenced at 2 p.m. Sept. 16.

The fourth teen, who didn’t appear this morning, will have his trial at 9 a.m. Oct. 1 before Judge Romans.

After the hearing, the three teens were allowed to talk to their parents who were sitting in the back of the courtroom. They hugged for several seconds, then they were handcuffed, led out of the courtroom and remanded back to the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center.

All four were charged with aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; theft of a firearm and tampering with evidence, third-degree felonies; and carrying a concealed weapon and obstructing official business, fifth-degree felonies, according to court records. One of the teens also was charged with firing a weapon within city limits after he allegedly fired a .380 caliber gun on Queen Avenue.

On July 16, the suspects allegedly entered a Middletown home in the 2200 block of Tytus Avenue, displayed guns and stole guns and jewelry, according to Middletown police. They allegedly demanded a juvenile in the home open a safe where four firearms were stolen, according to a Middletown police report obtained by The Journal-News. Witnesses told police they heard one suspect tell the teen who lived in the house to open the safe or he’d be shot.

The Journal-News is not naming the suspects because they are under 18.

INITIAL REPORT

Pretrial hearings for four Middletown teens charged with aggravated burglary are scheduled for this morning in Butler County Juvenile Court, according to court records.

That’s probably when the Butler County prosecutor’s office will decide if it will request the cases be bound over to adult court.

The four — ages 17, 16, 16 and 15 and Middletown High School students — will appear before Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Judge Ronald Craft.

The four teens have been remanded to the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center, where they have been since they were arrested and charged last month. Three of the teens were arrested July 16, and the fourth was arrested July 17, according to police and court records.

MORE: 3 Middletown teens, all high school students, charged for incident involving burglary with guns

All four are charged with aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; theft of a firearm and tampering with evidence, third-degree felonies; and carrying a concealed weapon and obstructing official business, fifth-degree felonies, according to court records. One of the teens also was charged with firing a weapon within city limits after he allegedly fired a .380 caliber gun on Queen Avenue.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said if a 16-year-old used or brandished a gun during the burglary, the case will have a mandatory bind over. But if the 15-year-old used a weapon, the bind over will be discretionary.

Gmoser said his office is “very concerned” about the gun violence involving teens in Butler County. He called charges “very serious” and said he’s bothered by teens associating with guns.

“I’m concerned about that,” he said.

On July 16, the suspects allegedly entered a Middletown home in the 2200 block of Tytus Avenue, displayed guns and stole guns and jewelry, according to Middletown police. They allegedly demanded a juvenile in the home open a safe where four firearms were stolen, according to a Middletown police report obtained by The Journal-News. Witnesses told police they heard one suspect tell the teen who lived in the house to open the safe or he’d be shot.

The Journal-News is not naming the suspects because they are not charged in adult court.

A 911 caller told a Middletown dispatcher that juveniles came into his house and forced him to open the gun safe.

MORE: 911 caller: ‘I just got robbed’ of guns out of safe in Middletown

“I just got robbed,” the caller said.

He said he lived in the 2200 block of Tytus Avenue and “these kids just came to my house with a gun and forced me to open our gun safe.”

He described several of the suspects, told the 911 dispatcher he knew them and identified the stolen guns.

Maj. David Birk said police recovered three guns allegedly used in the burglary. No shots were fired inside the Tytus Avenue residence and no one was injured, he said. At least four people were inside the residence at the time of the burglary, according to the report.

Birk said police recovered jewelry and guns allegedly stolen during the home invasion. The guns belonged to the grandfather of the boy who lives on Tytus Avenue, police said.

When police arrived at the residence on Oxford State Road, they saw seven to 10 juveniles inside an attached garage. When police announced their presence, several teens ran away, according to a report. Police interviewed some of those who remained inside the garage and they told police one of the suspects was talking about “hitting a rift,” slang for committing a robbery, the report read.