SIOUX CITY -- Juvenile court programs had been unsuccessful, so there weren't many options left when considering an appropriate sentence for a 15-year-old Sioux City boy who pleaded guilty Monday to a string of burglaries.
District Judge Jeffrey Neary said he wasn't convinced probation was the best option for DreShawn Stewart, and a stay in prison might be the most effective way to ensure the teenager gets a high school diploma and can participate in programs that could help him turn his life around.
"Prison is no place for a 15-year-old ... but we don't really have any good options here," Neary said before sentencing Stewart to a five-year prison sentence.
Stewart pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to four counts of third-degree burglary, three counts each of second-degree theft and second-degree criminal mischief and one count of third-degree criminal mischief.
Stewart admitted that he broke into the Sprint store, 4115 Gordon Drive, on Sept. 30 and took two iPhones. He also broke into Urban Casual, 3241 Gordon Drive, and Younkers, 4380 Sergeant Road, on Oct. 17 and stole merchandise. He also attempted to break into AT&T, 2935 Hamilton Blvd., on Oct. 19 with an axe, causing more than $1,000 in damage to the store.
He had faced a maximum of 52 years in prison. Neary chose to run the sentences of all 11 counts concurrent for a five-year sentence. Stewart must pay restitution to all four businesses in an amount yet to be determined. He will be housed at the Youthful Offenders Unit at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.
Stewart's case had been waived up to district court from juvenile court, prosecutors said, because it was determined there were few programs left in which to place Stewart in the juvenile court services system.
Three teenagers who participated in the crimes with Stewart are being prosecuted in juvenile court.