Teen accused of stealing cars arraigned in adult court

Jeremiah Laplace racks up 36 counts of various charges

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A 16-year-old boy accused of being a serial car thief was arraigned Thursday in adult court.

Jeremiah Laplace has racked up more charges than the average career criminal, despite his age.

A judge rattled off some 36 counts of grand theft, burglary and weapons charges for crimes the teen is accused of committing throughout Broward County.

The long list even puzzled fellow jail inmates who were also in the courtroom for their own cases.

Laplace has been arrested more than a dozen times since 2015, when he was only 14 years old.

Laplace's father told Local 10 News by phone that his son hangs around the wrong crowd.

"He's a good kid. I think (he's) just easily influenced, but he's very smart," Terrence Lemon said. 

Laplace was arrested in February when officers pulled him over and found a stolen gun on him.

In August of last year, he and four others were charged with stealing a dozen cars from a car dealership and later ditching them.

Police said Laplace also purchased two BB guns in March 2016 at the Swap Shop to rob someone at a nearby Pet Supermarket.

All the crimes had been kept in juvenile court until now, against the wishes of his defense attorney.

"Today he's not competent to enter a plea, so I cannot enter a plea on his behalf," the teen's attorney said. 

Lemon believes the judicial system has failed his son by letting him out of jail to commit crimes. He said there are not enough services currently to help Laplace. 
 

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