One of two teenagers accused of car theft has two suspended sentences hanging over his head, a court has heard.

The 17-year-old faced the ACT Children's Court on Thursday on charges of car theft and being an unlicensed driver.

His co-accused, a 15-year-old boy, also faced the court on the same charges.

The two boys were arrested after they were each allegedly seen driving stolen car's in Dickson on Wednesday night.

Police said officers were conducting mobile patrols in the inner-north suburb about 11pm when two cars, a white Mazda 121 and a red Mazda MX5, were seen driving slowly behind the Canberra Tourism Information building.

Both cars had been reported stolen to police earlier in the day.

The officers approached the two cars which had by then been parked.

Police said the 17-year-old was sitting in the driver's seat of the Mazda 121, while the 15-year-old was standing next to the Mazda MX5 after officers allegedly watched him leaving the car.

The teenagers were arrested and taken to the ACT Watch House.

The ACT Children's Court heard the 17-year-old had a lengthy criminal history and had been missing from his court ordered residence since last week.

The prosecution said the boy had outstanding matters committed to the ACT Supreme Court and was also subject to two suspended sentences.

Magistrate Karen Fryar refused to release the 17-year-old on bail, saying the risk he would reoffend were too great.

He will reappear in February.

The 15-year-old, who had no criminal record, was bailed to reappear at a later date.