Teen accused of being serial car thief will be tried in adult court

Jeremiah LePlace faces 36 charges including grand theft and burglary

By Terrell Forney - Reporter, Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Broward County judge ruled Wednesday that a 16-year-old Fort Lauderdale boy accused of being serial car thief is competent to stand trial as an adult.

Despite his young age, Jeremiah LePlace has a long history of arrests and dealing with juvenile courts. He will now face 36 criminal charges including grand theft, burglary and weapons violations as an adult.

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

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

Jeremiah's defense attorney had argued that his client was not competent to stand trial in adult court, but psychologists testified Wednesday that he was well-spoken and articulate. 

"He presented stable. He was compliant. He was cooperative. He was fluid in his speaking," Dr. Karen Dann said.

Jeremiah's stepfather testified that Jeremiah's disruptive behavior became all too common for him as his family struggled to keep in him on the right track.

"He was a major problem in school— we’d have to go to school for conferences— ya know he would just tear up stuff," Terrence Lemon said.

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