Town leaders put in place a youth curfew in 1997, but Wake Forest police might not have issued a curfew violation until this week.
Police charged an unidentified 15-year-old with violating curfew early Tuesday morning. The teen, along with a 17-year-old boy and 16-year-old boy, were accused of stealing electronics, sodas and cookies from Walmart, said Wake Forest spokesman Bill Crabtree.
Crabtree said he could not find any other instance of police charging a youth in Wake Forest with being out past curfew.
The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners approved the curfew 19 years ago, when some other towns created similar policies to deter crimes committed by juveniles. Knightdale and the Johnston County town of Benson enacted similar curfews in 1995, along with Charlotte.
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In Wake Forest, juveniles under 16 must be in their homes by 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and by midnight on Friday and Saturday. The rule doesn’t apply if the minor is traveling to or from work, or is accompanied by an adult or has permission from an authorized adult to be out.
A curfew offender can be cited in Wake Forest with a misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $100 or 30 days in jail.
The curfew is a tool police officers can use to get teens home or to another secure location, said Wake Forest Police Capt. M.D. May.
“It’s created just to ensure that juveniles, minors, are indoors in a safe location between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” May said.
But officers haven’t always been quick to issue citations.
Knightdale police have not issued any curfew violations in the last four years, according to Patrol Capt. Tracy Solomon.
In Benson, Officer Zach Jacobs said a curfew citation had not been issued in recent memory.
It’s likely that the 15-year-old was cited for violating Wake Forest’s curfew because the minor faced another criminal charge, Crabtree said. The teen was charged with misdemeanor larceny.
“I think that because they were charged for some other offenses, they were charged with this as well,” he said.
Troy Copley, 17, and Johnathan Davis, 16, were also charged with misdemeanor larceny.
Copley, of Emerald Isle, was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor.
Davis and the 15-year-old were released to their parents, according to police.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802: @ReporterCioffi