As teen car thefts continue to rise in Central Ohio, many have asked what the legal system can do to stop it.
Criminal defense attorney Steve Palmer said it's not as easy as just charging each teen as an adult, or passing the charges on to their parents.
"This is what's going to happen, it's going to continue, it's going to escalate I think until the courts do something to stop it," Palmer said.
Palmer said he has spent the majority of his over 25-year-long career representing juveniles in court.
He said car thefts, like what the 'Kia Boys' have glamorized, is nothing new.
Teenagers have done this forever, and I think for a long time the law sort of recognized that, alright we can give them a little bit of a pass for being stupid, being kids, being teenagers, but I think what's happened now is it's gotten out of hand,
In Ohio, juvenile car theft is a lower-level felony. Palmer said it's up to the prosecutors to pursue the charges.
Many have asked when parents or guardians will be held responsible by the courts for the teens' actions, Palmer said that's typically not an option.
"Unless a parent is complicit or directly involved, it's going to be very difficult to link up a parent for criminal responsibility," Palmer said.
As we see repeat teen offenders and the crimes turning deadly, Palmer indicated that there has to be a real penalty.
"Juvenile court is theoretically about rehabilitation, we don’t want to necessarily punish kids, we want to help them make that transition into adulthood," Palmer said. "Sometimes part of rehabilitation is punishment though and if kids are laughing at the consequences, then the consequences need to change."