Investigation of burglary at Ascarate Park linked to viral video involving EPPD officer

Surveillance images of toll booth burglary at Ascarate Park on July 2, 2018. (Credit: El Paso County Sheriff's Office)

A group of minors accused of burglary at Ascarate Park, an investigation conducted by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, revealed a link to the viral video involving an El Paso police officer.

Sheriff Richard Wiles said on Tuesday that during an investigation into a burglary at the toll booth at Ascarate Park it was discovered that six juveniles, ranging from ages 12 to 16, were identified as kids that were recorded shouting obscenities at an El Paso police officer in a separate incident.

Wiles said seven juveniles; five boys and two girls were captured on July 2 around 10:50 p.m. on surveillance burglarizing a toll booth at Ascarate Park. The booth is used to collect payment from visitors parking at the park. He said the suspects broke into the booth breaking a window with a rock. They were seen searching for items and stealing a set of keys, he said.

According to Wiles, deputies with the Sheriff's Office identified six of the minors in the toll booth burglary as some of the minors who were recorded in the viral video where a group of juveniles in a south central neighborhood were being detained by an El Paso police officer, according to Wiles.

The viral video recorded on July 5 showed the group of juveniles shouting obscenities at a police officer and the police officer pulling out his weapon toward them. No injuries were reported. The viral video gained national attention when a police officer pulled out his weapon and pointed it a group of kids.

The police officer had responded to the area after reports that a large group of kids might have been inside a vacant apartment without the consent of the owner. In the video, the kids were detained and asked to lean against the wall of the Seville Recreation Center, in the 6700 block of Sambrano Avenue.

"We were able to solve that burglary [toll booth burglary] on July 2 because of the video that was posted by the juvenile on the seventh on social media," said Wiles.

Wiles said the pool, the office at the pool and a storage facility at Ascarate Park were burglarized and vandalized.

Between July 6 at 10 p.m. and July 7 at 6 a.m. incidents of burglary and vandalism were reported, said Wiles. CBS4 previously reported that earlier in July pool had been vandalized. Equipment was found in the pool, said LeAnn Carr, the co-head coach for the El Paso Aqua Posse Swim Team.

Things like reels that hold the lane lines, a big set of metal lockers and trash bins, Carr said.

Wiles said the business office was also broken into along with the storage facility. He said softball equipment inside the storage unit was stolen.

The burglaries at the pool and the storage facility remain under investigation, said Wiles.

Wiles said the juveniles accused of the toll booth burglary are in custody. They are facing burglary of habitation charges. He said one of them was already in custody for theft of burglary.

The juvenile suspects were taken to the Juvenile Detention Center, said Wiles.

The juvenile suspects had their hearing Tuesday and remain in custody, he added.

One of them was already in custody for theft of a vehicle.

"So we are definitely hoping that by taking them into custody for this offense, getting them into the system, that maybe we can get them some help and get them on the right path," said Wiles.

Footage of the burglary is not available to the public because it contains juveniles and because it's evidence that will be used for prosecution, said Wiles

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