PS 29 vandals surrender claiming ‘YouTube accident’

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They wanted to slide through a burning ring of fire.

That’s the hare-brained explanation given to cops by the four socially distorted teens that ignited play equipment at PS 29 in Cobble Hill last Sunday, creating a firestorm of concern — and controversy.

“They set out to make a YouTube video, but the fire became too great for them,” said Fire Department spokesman Jim Long, who said the foolhardy foursome used rubbing alcohol to fuel the blaze, which quickly got out of hand.

“The video was going to be about them going through the fire,” he explained.

Instead, two of the teens — 16-year-olds Bairn Sweeney and Max Layton — went through central booking on Tuesday, after turning themselves in at the 76th Precinct stationhouse on Union Street.

Both will be charged as adults with a bevy of charges, including criminal mischief and arson, Long said.

Two others will be charged as minors, he added.

Calls to Layton’s parents were unreturned at press time. His father is Charles Layton, the president of Canada-based Alliance Films, which distributed films such as Oscar-winner “The King’s Speech.”

Fire officials said they were quickly closing in on the teens, and were unimpressed that they came forward over a week after the blaze.

“They didn’t initially come forward. They were instructed to surrender — or else we were coming to get them,” Long said.

Before the industrial stink of burned plastic faded from the well-appointed block of Henry Street near Kane Street, parents were pooling their ample resources and calling criminal defense lawyer Sam Gregory who helped set up a $50,000 account to cover the damage done by their offspring.

That galled neighbors such as Stephen Negrycz. “I don’t think it’s right to buy your kids out,” he said.

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
B.s. throw those lil f@#$ers in prison. Trying to blame crap that they saw on Youtube.
May 18, 2011, 1:31 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
It's nice to be a little ——head with a rich dad.
May 18, 2011, 7:27 am
LOL why so serious says:
haha you people get so uptight they're just teenagers .. since when did teenagers always do brilliant things with their brains lol
May 18, 2011, 7:40 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Don't let them slide - pay the cost of replacement, and welcome to your summer internship with the Parks Dept. kids -

What a great Youtube sensation that will make.
May 18, 2011, 8:13 am
Steve from Bklyn says:
Throw 'em in jail for a few weeks, then make them do $50,000 worth of community service, or about a year's work.
May 18, 2011, 8:42 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
Their work assignment with the Parks Department should be Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and the full July 4 weekend cleanup at Prospect Park, throughout the summer.
May 18, 2011, 8:49 am
William Lee from Williamsburg says:
Shouldn't that be "hare-brained"? My dictionary says the expression dates back to 1548. Anyway, it sure was dumb! And yes, let them do Parks cleanup duty!
May 18, 2011, 9:24 am
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
Ooh, youtube! Yeah crazy teen brain. Hmmm!

Let's get real, these kids were wilding. Burning s**t & sliding thru fire? Who does this but a bunch of inhumane animals. They are animals. They are reckless, inhumane, vicious, wolf-pack that does not intent to be a part of a civilize world. What kind of family would rise people like this?

Just thought I'd recycle some of the other words I've read describing criminal acts by teens in our city across the years.
May 18, 2011, 9:35 am
stan from Brooklyn says:
I am not sure who is worse the kids or the parents. These kids have obviously never had to face any consequences in their life and think they can do what ever. Who is to blame? Their parents who obviously just want to throw money at the problem and make it go away because they don't have the fortitude or moral backbone to confront their kids and deal with the problem. I unfortunately know who these kids are and they are frequently in trouble. Maybe their parents will do the right thing for the first time and let them face some consequences.
May 19, 2011, 12:05 pm
lindsay from cobble hill says:
There were nine kids involved in this and they are all from Cobble Hill, not from the projects, not from Tribeca or the Upper East Side. They are your neighbors. Their parents probably live in the same fancy houses the rest of you do. Only two names have been released. What about all the other kids? And what's wrong with paying for the damage their kids did? I seriously doubt they thought this would pay anybody off, like some Wall Street executive. They're being prosecuted as they should be from what I read. It's a good thing their parents are from tony Cobble Hill and not some "lower class" neighborhood" where parents couldn't afford to repair the damage.
Who is this creepy perv Ch from Cobble Hill?
May 23, 2011, 10:15 am
Sung Yook from Cobble Hill says:
Those entitled teens destroyed something lots of children enjoy and would have enjoyed through out the summer. Had a non-St. Ann's child destroyed some of that school's property - say the theatre or arts spaces or materials - the outrage would have been louder than Macy's Fireworks. Would they have done the same at Friends? Packer? Why did they chose the public elementary school just around the corner?

I find it so upsetting that these kids are so thoughtless, inconsiderate, destructive and without any manners. Don't pick on public schools. Prey on other fancy institutions for whom 50K is nothing.
June 3, 2011, 4:48 pm
Parent from Brooklyn Heights says:
50k is NEVER nothing, what the hell are you talking about? Teenagers are not the smartest, they're still growing and learning! These kids were not thinking "oh i'll set a playground on fire and then pay 50grand and easily get out of it" (which they're clearly not, by the way). they weren't thinking at all! and since when do we think it's a good idea to celebrate sending kids to jail for not thinking!? its just rediculous that people are thinking this is a class thing, the majority of kids at ps29 could buy their way out of it if they did something stupid. so many people are assuming a lot about these kids because they are understandably angry about a playground, but they have to grow up!

also, stan, i happen to know these kids too, and i also happen to know that the 50k is THEIRS, not their parents'. I know that they are decent children who do not deserve to go to jail or work on a "chain gang" as some comedians have been suggesting. i also happen to know these kids' families, and i know that kids who live in these situations end up doing a ton worse that what these kids have done, and dont have the caring parents who are willing to help them to take responsibility for their actions and maybe have a life beyond one stupid thing they did in highschool. Dont be an @$$.
Aug. 23, 2011, 4:23 pm

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