The boys were released under a number of provisions set by the judge, Bolling said, including parental supervision at all times.
“The expectation is that a juvenile will be released unless he is a threat to public safety, or that he’s a flight risk,” Bolling explained.
The 16-year-old boys face charges of breaking and entering a building with intent to commit larceny, and possession of burglary tools. Both are felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The boys' identities were not revealed.
Their next court date is a July 12 pre-trial hearing. It will be determined then if the boys plead guilty to one or both of the charges, or a trial will proceed, Bolling said.
The boys were arrested after being discovered in the Muskegon County mall by a security officer. Although the boys fled from the area, police said they tracked them with the help of Muskegon County’s K-9 unit.
The boys were housed in Muskegon County after their arrest. They were released to Ottawa County after a court hearing Friday, Muskegon County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Mott said.
“This is required,” Mott said. “Whenever an offense is created by a juvenile, it always goes back to their county of residence.”
Police were called to the mall at 4 a.m. June 28. A security guard heard a noise coming from the food court area, and then saw the two boys by a cell phone kiosk, according to the police report.
“He yelled (and) they ran,” Mott said.
Workers in Dick’s Sporting Goods saw two boys take off through the adjacent blueberry fields, Mott said. Police said the boys were dropping stolen items along the way.
Mott said the boys entered the mall through an unsecured door, but there was also evidence of forced entry. They targeted four or five kiosks in the mall, and attempted to take cash boxes and jewelry, Mott said. They also dismantled video cameras in the area, he said.
Police captured one of the boys hiding near a nearby storage facility. The second boy was found at a residence on Airport Road.
Fruitport Township Police said they recovered an undisclosed amount of stolen cash, as well as stolen property valued at more than $5,000.