Four Mahwah Teens Charged In Connection With Alleged Arson

All four attend Mahwah High School, police say

Four Mahwah High School students have been charged as juveniles in connection with an alleged burglary and arson in the Ridge Gardens condo complex Wednesday night, Mahwah police said Friday afternoon.

Three 14-year-olds and one 16-year-old are being charged with arson, burglary, theft and criminal mischief, Chief James Batelli said. One of the 14-year-olds is being additionally charged with hindering apprehension, he said.

The four , Batelli told Patch Thursday. Bicycles and other pieces of personal property were stolen from the storage units, he said.

The charges will be heard in family court in Hackensack, police said.

“These are serious charges, so while it is heard in Family Court, the defendants are entitled to legal representation and it is a formal legal proceeding,” Batelli said.


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hsr October 05, 2012 at 10:55 PM
The 16 year old must be a real brain and the 14 year olds better shape up and pick their idols more sensibly. As for the parents they better keep better taps on their children or someday they will have great heart ache.
Hank October 06, 2012 at 12:17 PM
good job mpd now find out who is using West Mahwah as their piggy bank Since this summer: 2 daytime house robberies on Johnson (last one on Wed) 1 backyard robbery on Meadow Car break ins on State
Regenbogen October 06, 2012 at 03:35 PM
West Mahwah definitely needs more police presence!
Mahwah Resident October 06, 2012 at 03:42 PM
hsr, your first sentence comment about the 16 year must be a real brain is inappropriate. Knocking someone down does not help just makes them feel worse. I agree with everything else you said.
thomas a. October 06, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I live were they started the fire I have some choice words for all of them lil s.o.b.s. its a good thing I was goin out because the alarm system malfunctioned.it made a funky sound not like any alarm I've ever heard. But I smelled smoke when I came down stairs so me and my son checked the basement and found heavy smoke. We have no fire escapes if the stairs would have caught on fire we might have been in real trouble I hope they get the book threw at them not once but twice.
Andy Schmidt October 06, 2012 at 08:10 PM
I am surprised to see no charge of reckless endangerment. The burglary and arson certainly is bad, but the parent's liability insurance can hopefully replace what's lost or damaged. But by setting fire to a dwelling that could have been (and actually was) occupied they accepted the possible severe personal injury or even death of its occupants - and that kind of action deserves more than a slap on the wrist - as you said.
hsr October 07, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Mahwah res. do you understand the seriousness of setting a fire in an occupied building? A 16 year old should have enough sense to know this or he certainly should not be out unsupervised.
Angelwings October 07, 2012 at 01:07 AM
As a parent of a MHS student, this story is especially troubling, First, we have 4 children under 18 who had no homework; after school activities; community service or a family to have dinner with. Secondly, the children have no regard for life or property. When I mentioned the story to the boys I drive home after sports from MHS they immediately said, bet we know who it is...Tragically this should never have happened. If students, could identify children at risk, the school; the community; neighbors and families knew they were in need of help. We live in a community where businesses, families and the Mahwah Police Department have demonstrated their commitment to our children. These children slipped through the safety net, we all need to make sure they have the support and guidance they need to turn this around. My prayers and thoughts are with the children and their families. I send my prayers to the families who were affected by their behavior. May this be a teaching moment for all of us...
hsr October 07, 2012 at 02:21 PM
And yet again two nights ago there were kids out after dark at 8 ringing door bells and banging on doors.
NANCY (BAMBERGER) CASTNER October 08, 2012 at 10:03 AM
What's new about that????? Haven't lived in Mahwah since '61.......things haven't change a bit, have they?????
Nick October 08, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Police were called for kids doing that a year or so ago. Got caught, too. Apparently some parents don't care about what their kids are up to.
NANCY (BAMBERGER) CASTNER October 09, 2012 at 06:30 AM
Like you said many parents just don't give a hoot about the whereabouts of their children!!!! When I lived in Mahwah (eons ago), my parents had to know where I was going & when I planned on coming home. Since I lived closer to Suffern, usually I traveled there to seek out friends in that area. I was allowed freedom according to my age at that time, usually home early when in pre-teen yrs, especially on school nights with homework completed before venturing out. During high school, allowed out until 9 then home & into bed before 11. Not too strict but caring about my travels & friends. Parents are either too busy, stressed with their "work life" or they just don't give a damn!!!! I certainly don't have a answer, but do know if something isn't done for these children soon, imagine what will happen to them in the future??? What a crying shame that these kids might just end up being another screwed up person in our society!!!!
Andy Schmidt October 09, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Nancy, I would be careful about a "couldn't never happen to me" attitude. Every time I hear about these things, I cringe because I've seen it happen to/in families/kids where you NEVER would think it be possible because you know both the parents, the kids and even the parenting style... Makes me feel VERY worried about what *I* could be missing. Look, you are describing your upbringing, being allowed to be out until 9 PM during your high school years, having to tell your parents where you claiming to be heading (in your case Suffern). So - this specific incident happened at 6:40. By telling their parents that they'd go to the "Ridge" neighborhood and would be back by 9 PM -- how would THAT be different to how your own parents were supervising you? How did they know that every single day you actually WENT where you said you'd go, or whether after "seeking out" your friends "in that area", that you were NOT going to get into any mischief? Maybe the parent monitoring was actually quite similar in this instance?
John October 09, 2012 at 03:49 PM
NO IT DOESN'T! Mahwah has to many police officers with nothing to do. It's nice that they caught these kids, but the bottom line is that they're still "KIDS". They're are going to be put into fire prevention program and that's about it. Boys will be boys, I don't understand why people are getting so unset over this! Saying shit like the town needs more police is stupid. How about we hire you a personal police officer and you can pay his salary instead of the entire township paying for you to feel a little (and i'm using that term very loosely) safer!
Andy Schmidt October 09, 2012 at 05:12 PM
John, I do get your point. I'm worried constantly, what issue I could some day be facing, despite my best parenting efforts. I'm curious though where you personally see the threshold. These were not 8 year olds playing around with fire in their own basement, and it getting out of hand. Breaking into storage units to make off with bicylcles and other items, and then (at THAT age) setting a residence on fire where people live upstairs... at what point does it go beyond "boys will be boys" for you, and you would draw a line?
John October 09, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Andy, It's not about Boy will be boys, it's about Regenbogen wanting more cops, the police we have now are more then enough. I'm not talking about the kids, kids are going to mess up, that's the point of being that age, learning from your mistakes. Just b/c the cops did a good thing and caught these kids doesn't mean we need more cops. Great job Mahwah Police, keep up the great work "within your budget"!
Shanna October 09, 2012 at 09:33 PM
What would you do if it was your child? You wouldn't want other people saying these terrible things about your kids. Wow a few 14 year olds and a 16 year old screwed up. I bet you all were perfect angels when you were that age. Seriously, the ones who thinks their kids wouldn't do this need a serious reality check. My heart breaks for these kids. May they learn their lesson and be able to move on from this. And parents, please look at your children and know how upset you would be if someone said to "throw the book" at them. I'm sure your opinions would change in a heartbeat.
ref October 14, 2012 at 09:52 AM
Shanna,would you be saying this if God forbid the whole building caught on fire and somone lost their life because "Wow a few 14 year olds and a 16 year old screwed up",?
NANCY (BAMBERGER) CASTNER October 14, 2012 at 11:49 AM
To all, never said I was perfect but I sure as hell would never have done anything that jeaprodized lives of others. This time of yr - this worst things my friends & I did was tromp through leaf piles and think that it was funny that the owner of the house would gave to re-rake the mess, in addition; we rang doorbells long before Halloween, Then on Halloween, we soaped or used shaving creme on car windows or to store fronts!!! Wow what terrible things we did!!!! As to "boys being boys" attitude is outrageous.I have one son - if he had ever done something like this - I swear that if my late husband & I had discovered - we would have turned him tover to the local sheriiff's dept, just to let him know that we would never abide by this "adventure" that he involved himself with. We would try to help him when he went to court but not try to get him off of his responsibilities to atone for the "mistake" in judgement!!! More police in Mahwah will not solve the current problems of the town. Just need more awareness of the youth & their problems, and police working with parents & schools to possibly prevent any more situations that would endanger the lives of the citizenry!!! Good luck folks.
joseph j guider October 14, 2012 at 01:09 PM
In my opinion, It's a child abuse issue. We as a society have gone over board in protecting our little darlings from physical abuse. A slap in the face across the family dinner table is a wake up call, not chjld abuse. In the 50s and 60s it was widely known and approved by tough loving parents that their kids would get the corporal punishment for messing up. On the sports practice fields Coaches were not only mentors and motivators but discilplinarians. Kids today dont learn the lessons of the consequences for bad behavior.
past resident October 21, 2012 at 05:38 PM
My God get a life. This has been going on in Mahwah for ever !!! They dont need more cops they have enough. If they would get to know the kids like they did back 15yrs ago. The kids would have a different feeling towards cops..Also they need to stop doing speed traps on 287 and stay in town were they need to be.The State police can do the speed traps. The other problem is they are bored. I always head that from my kids years ago. Nothing to do I am bored......... They did go out and play all the kids. Now adays both parents are working and kids just dont care.
past resident October 21, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I agree with Joe. These kids dont get grounded smacked or the BELT anymore. Why the goverment tells us how to raise our kids and how we are to correct them. BULL that is why they are this way. My kids got yelling at grouned and spanked. They are most respected kids I know. And mind you so are there close friends. but they also get there ass kicked when they did something. Goverment has to stop butting in our life and let us bring them into this world. Cause they sure are not around they are too busy spending there big bucks they make and on vacation for most of that to begin with. Sorry people got carried away.
past resident October 21, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Shanna.... these kids could have killed someone. I lived close by at one point. I know what fire can do and how quickly it happends. AND NO MY KIDS WOULD NOT DO THIS. They know they would have gotten there ass beat but see I didnt have to worry about that. I brought my kids up rite.......I am not saying throw the book at them but they do need to pay the price. AS WE SAY IF YOU DO THE CRIME THEN PAY THE FINE. BY THEY WAY I AM A SINGLE MOM. WORKING FULL TIME... AND THIER FATHER ALSO WORKED MANY HOURS AND SPENT ALOT OF TIME WITH OUR KIDS.


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