Police have charged two teenagers in thefts from more than 20 cars over a three month period in Woodstock-area subdivisions.
Austin Stepho, 17, and Christopher Eriquezzo, 18, were arrested last week and remain in custody after each being charged with 22 counts of entering auto, said Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Baker said Thursday that the suspects are the same ones who were caught attempting to break into cars by a home surveillance camera in the Towne Lake Hills West subdivision in late July. The video was released to the public Aug. 2 and shows one person checking to see if a vehicle is unlocked and another on lookout, Baker said.
During the three month period, Baker said the teens took items from 22 cars belonging to 17 different victims in Town Lake Hills West, Towne Lake Hills East and the Arbor View subdivision off East Cherokee Drive.
The suspects made off with three handguns, a laptop, cash and multiple iPhones, Baker said.
Baker said victims of entering autos can often avoid having their property stolen.
“This is almost 100 percent of the time an avoidable crime if you lock your doors,” Baker said. “On very rare occasions will a suspect force entry into a vehicle parked in someone’s driveway. Locking your car doors almost eliminates any chance that you will become a victim of an entering auto at your residence.”
Stepho and Eriquezzo are being held at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on bond.
Stepho’s bond has been set at $45,000 and Eriquezzo’s at $160,700.
Baker said Stepho’s age is cause of the large difference in the suspects’ bond amounts, as he was a juvenile when some of the crimes are alleged to have taken place.
“He’s still charged with 22 counts of entering auto, but in a portion of those he’s charged as a juvenile,” Baker said. “There’s no bond on those particular ones.”
Both suspects also face charges of shoplifting and burglary pending from the Woodstock Police Department, Baker said.