CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - On Friday the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office announced a new initiative in an effort to reduce crimes with fake guns.
Chief Prosecutor for the Juvenile Division Duane Deskins says that new policy comes after a rash of young people are turning to fake guns as a cheap and easy way to rob, steal, and intimidate.
Three weeks ago police say a 14-year-old took a toy revolver and robbed almost three people in one day.
"Cops can't charge him for gun possession but the effect on the victim is just as real as if he had one," said Deskins. "These toys, these airsoft, these BB guns, these pellet guns-they make them look just like the real thing."
From now on juvenile offenders in the system caught using a replica gun to intimidate someone will face tough penalties, including being locked up at the Juvenile Detention Center.
"If you're on pretrial release the court, if appropriate, can revoke your release and take you into custody, and if you're probation from an existing offense and if you're found in possession from one of these guns, take you into custody and if appropriate revoke your probation," said Deskins.
The court believes focusing on juveniles that have already committed crimes will be most effective because they're more likely to abuse replica guns.
Deskins says he hopes the initiative sends a message to young people and their parents about the consequences of owning these fake guns.
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