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Family upset with Warwick PD's Facebook post about arrested teen

Shawn Bartis, 18, as well as a 17-year-old juvenile, were caught stealing hubcaps, a siren control box, as well as a spotlight, from a Warwick police car. (Police photo)

Warwick detectives spotted a crime in their own parking lot.

They claim two teenagers had taken the hubcaps off a marked police car and were trying to steal more equipment from it when they were busted around 7 p.m. on Sunday night.

Police arrested 18-year-old Shawn Bartis and a 17-year-old, who they did not name because he's not an adult.

"Shawn is a good kid," Bartis' older brother, Joe, told NBC 10 News. "He's still in high school. He made a mistake. Shawn has an obsession with certain things."

On his Facebook page, Bartis has posted pictures of an old police car, which his brother said he owns.

But Joe is also upset with police about their Facebook post on the incident.

Police wrote about the incident, posted Bartis' mug shot, and added a famous line from the movie Forrest Gump: "stupid is as stupid does."

"Saying he's stupid - you don't do things like that. You don't say things like that. It's totally wrong what they did," Joe told NBC 10.

After some backlash online, the Warwick Police Department deleted the Gump quote from their post and wrote, "In the interest of not besmirching a young man for his mistake, the picture and jocularity has been removed."

Col. Stephen McCartney told NBC 10 News that going forward, the department will make sure anything posted to its Facebook page is professional.

Still, Joe said his brother simply made a mistake.

"He was with the wrong person and he was doing the wrong thing," said Joe. "Obviously, he was doing the wrong thing. But for the police to put him on the spot like that and throw his face out on Facebook is totally wrong. It's totally wrong. What's that going to do for his future?"

The two teens are now facing misdemeanor charges.

A police spokesman told NBC 10 the true victim in the crime is the taxpayer, as city property was being stolen.

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