Teen brothers admit vehicle burglaries
After turning down offers for court-appointed attorneys, two brothers admitted in Douglas juvenile court Monday that they were responsible for up to five vehicle burglaries in the Gardnerville Ranchos.
District Judge Michael Gibbons ordered that Nathan and Cainan Centeno remain in detention until their Feb. 7 disposition hearing.
In juvenile court, a disposition is similar to sentencing.
Nathan, 17 and Cainan, 15, admitted possession of stolen property and burglary. Nathan also admitted a probation violation. He was first on probation in 2004, and as recently as 2008.
“If an adult were facing these charges, I am 99 percent sure they would want an attorney,” Gibbons said.
The boys’ mother said they wanted to move the case forward.
“I’m kind of at a conflict,” she said. “These boys would rather tell the truth, plead guilty, and get on with it rather than hold up the court.”
Gibbons told them consequences could include probation or removal from the home for indefinite placement in a detention facility.
Chief Deputy Juvenile Probation Officer Vicky Sauer-Lamb said Nathan had been kept on probation because “his behavior has not been at the standard we’d like it to be before he finishes probation.”
His mother said Nathan was just about ready to be taken off probation when he got in some “behavior trouble” at home, followed by the vehicle burglary allegations.
Nathan said he committed four to five vehicle burglaries, stealing a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, computers, digital camera and tools.
He said he tossed the gun after he decided not to use it for target practice in the sandpits near his house.
Cainan admitted stealing jewelry from his grandmother’s home in Sparks.
The boys said they kept the stolen goods in a room they shared.
“I got the gun,” Nathan said. “I threw it out in a field.”
Cainan said his brother unloaded the handgun and kept the bullets in their room in a box.
The weapon has been returned to its owner, Sauer-Lamb said.
The mother said she called deputies when she found the ammunition in her sons’ room. At the time, she said the boys had argued with her and were out of the house for a few days.
Their grandmother called and reported the stolen jewelry, and she searched their room.
“That’s how I found out something was wrong,” she said. “That’s what scared me – .38-caliber shells – that’s when I called the police.”
Sauer-Lamb said although Nathan admitted up to five burglaries and Cainan helping with two, there were at least 30 unsolved burglaries in the same time period.
Nathan was adamant the two boys stayed within their neighborhood which borders Scarselli Elementary and Pau-Wa-Lu Middle schools.
“We only went out a few times,” he said.
The boys admitted stealing a camera, but denied taking a laptop from one victim who reported his MacBook was stolen.
Sgt. Jim Halsey said the burglaries began in November and occurred through January. The suspects reportedly targeted unlocked and unsecured vehicles parked in the Ranchos.
Most of the victims have been identified and the property returned.
Anyone who has been a victim of a vehicle burglary in the Gardnerville Ranchos or surrounding residential neighborhoods in the last two months is asked to call the DCSO Investigations Division at 782-9905 to describe the property for possible identification.