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PBSO has plan to combat unruly kids in Wellington

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Posted at 10:07 PM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 04:37:17-05

WELLINGTON, Fla. — It’s about 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night. Kids loitering outside of Dunkin Donuts in the Wellington Marketplace shopping center, off of Wellington Trace. It’s relatively tame now compared to what it is around 4:30 in the afternoon when many are also inside.

“I started telling them that if you guys don’t buy anything, we kick them out. And sometimes they steal money from the tip jar,” said Dunkin Donuts manager Mehul Patel.

Next door at Once Upon a Child, more unruliness.

“We do receive some complaints from customers that is very difficult to get in and a little bit of foul language going on at the same time which is very uncomfortable for them to come in and out,” said an assistant manager named Sandy. She did not want to use her last name.

Even during our interview with Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig, you could hear them as one whizzed by in the background on a bike.

“Trying to keep kids safe so they’re not running out on their bicycles in the dark,” she said as kids yelled.

In response to complaints, and outlined in a plan entitled, “Juvenile S.A.R.A. Plan,” the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said it was stepping up patrols in “targeted areas.”

On January 17th, PBSO says it rolled out a zero-tolerance policy-any kid committing crimes or creating a disturbance will be trespassed. If they come back, they could be arrested.

“It’s encouraging that somebody is actually acknowledging the problem,” said Sandy.

PBSO says they’ve increased patrols from 3-6 p.m. here at the Wellington Marketplace, Courtyard Shops, and Goldenrod Park, where he was a stabbing recently between two juveniles.

But the mayor stresses this isn’t all on PBSO’s shoulders.

“We do have some kids whose parents might recognize them and help us out here. And that’s really what we need,” Gerwig said.

In PBSO’s report, they say the majority of the kids are from Wellington High and Landings Middle School. The principals from those schools will send out a letter to parents, asking them to be more aware of their kid’s whereabouts.