61 juveniles charged in Avon Park detention facility riot


AVON PARK, Fla. – Authorities in central Florida are charging 61 juveniles for a riot that occurred at a detention facility last month.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Friday that the young men who participated in the Avon Park Youth Academy riot are facing various charges, including riot, introduction of contraband, theft, burglary and criminal mischief. At least three youths face arson charges from the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Officials say the Aug. 17 riot started after a fight related to a basketball game wager.

Judd said the riot caused about $350,000 in damage. He said the incident could have been avoided if the private security personnel hired by the state Department of Juvenile Justice had the proper equipment, such as pepper spray.

Judd says he plans to bill the state for the costs to his agency.