Sheriff: Teens blame drugs for stealing video games at gunpoint - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Sheriff: Teens blame drugs for stealing video games at gunpoint in Hartselle home invasion

(Source: Morgan County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Morgan County Sheriff's Office)

Four Morgan County teenagers are charged for an alleged armed home invasion in Hartselle. The youngest is 14-years-old. The fourth suspect surrendered Thursday night.

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said the three male suspects all wore masks as they burglarized the home. Franklin said the victim told investigators at least one voice sounded like a student that had gone to Danville Middle School where she is a substitute teacher.

The crime allegedly happened on July 10 at 3 p.m. on Norris Mill Road. The sheriff said three males broke in through the victim's backdoor. One held a gun to the victim's head and forced her to the ground as the other two stole a gaming system and video games. They all fled to a truck where a fourth suspect, a girl, was waiting.

The victim managed to get a picture of the truck as they drove off. However, neither that picture nor home security surveillance video revealed the tag number.

Three days later, the victim spotted the truck in the Kroger parking lot in Hartselle. She called 911 and followed the truck. Hartselle police tracked it down at a mobile home park.

Investigators say they got enough evidence there to charge 19-year-old Jared Cooper. On Wednesday, authorities arrested 16-year-old Lauren Stafford. 17-year-old Brandon Prince surrendered himself to authorities at the Morgan County Jail Thursday night.

Those three are charged as adults with first degree burglary.

A 14-year-old boy is also charged through the juvenile justice system.

Franklin said the suspects traded the stolen items for marijuana, and that two said they didn't want to commit the crime until they smoked spice.

"Drug abuse and substance abuse will change what people, sometimes, will do. The majority of our crimes happen because of, or around, drug abuse," she said. 'It's, once again, a warning to our parents, teachers, to the young people that are out there that you can call it synthetic marijuana all you want to. But it has nothing to do with marijuana. It's not synthetic marijuana. It's chemicals that will alter your state of your brain and will cause you to do things that you have never done before."

Franklin said investigators are looking at other cases to see if any of the teenage suspects could be involved in those too.

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