Post Falls Chief of Police Scott Haug says he was very surprised when an arrest warrant landed on his desk earlier this week. The warrant was for a "failure to appear," not uncommon. But the perpetrator was a nine year old boy.
Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh, who issued the arrest warrant, was not able to comment because the case involves someone younger than 18 years old. However, Haug says the warrant was issued because it was the second time the 9 year old missed his day in court.
What was the original charge? Stealing a pack of gum.
Haug says this is the first time in his 30 years in law enforcement that he's ever seen an arrest warrant issued for someone as young as nine.
"I was surprised that it had gotten to this level," says Haug.
Haug also says it isn't uncommon for the owner of a business to press charges against those who steal, even if it's for something as small as a pack of gum. When KHQ asked Haug why the 9 year old failed to appear, he says it was because the family had no way to get him to the courthouse.
"Had we known that before the court date we would have provided something for the family," says Haug. "I wish we would have had more information that way we could have provided some sort of assistance."
The child is currently in the Juvenile Detention Center where he will soon stand before a judge. Prosecutors told KHQ they can't say when that's expected to happen.