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UNC freshman facing larceny charges after alleged jewelry theft

An incoming freshman football signee with the University of North Carolina has been arrested and charged with felony larceny after allegedly stealing more than $50,000 worth of jewelry and watches from an acquaintance. According to news reports on the story, the 18-year-old returned the items to their owner and turned himself in to the authorities. 

It remains to be seen what the long-term consequences of the arrest may be, whether on the field or in the courtroom. However, given the seriousness of the charges and the age of the individual involved, they are likely to be substantial.

At the time of the alleged offense, the young man was reportedly living with his parents in preparation for his move onto campus. In a statement released last week, UNC football coach Larry Fedora characterized the player as "a good kid who made a terrible mistake."

In the eyes of the law, however, the accused teen is an adult, not a kid, and that distinction can make a world of difference in terms of the criminal consequences he may be facing if he is convicted on the charges.

Although older teens are still growing and maturing in many ways, North Carolina treats these young people more harshly than many other U.S. states by denying access to the juvenile justice system for those age 16 and older. In most states, the cutoff is set at age 18. Because the young man in this case is already 18, he would be tried as an adult in any state, and could face adult penalties if convicted, potentially including thousands of dollars in fines and lengthy imprisonment in an adult facility.

Source: CBS, "North Carolina incoming freshman charged with felony larceny," Chip Patterson, June 8, 2014

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