Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Public safety

16-year-old boy accused of stealing rifle, other items at Wesley Chapel shopping center

WESLEY CHAPEL — A 16-year-old boy was arrested Monday after deputies said they found him prowling around The Grove at Wesley Chapel with a bag of stolen goods and an assault rifle.

At about 2 p.m., the boy, whose name is being withheld because of his age, walked into Dick's Sporting Goods, grabbed fishing pliers, hunting gloves, a fishing knife and a black .22-caliber Mossberg rifle and walked out, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.

He stashed the gun in nearby bushes and went to Best Buy, where he stole a pair of $200 headphones, and then walked to a Ross clothing store and stole shoes, T-shirts and underwear, the report says.

After getting a call, a deputy found the boy emerging from bushes near the Best Buy store, the report says. He was carrying a duffel bag and had the gun slung over his shoulder.

The deputy drew his service revolver and told the boy to drop the rifle.

In the deputy's interview, detailed in the report, the boy gave the deputy an alias and said the rifle was actually a BB gun.

While the deputy and a witness were talking, the report says, the boy slipped the handcuffs on him around to the front of his body and was pulling himself through the window of the patrol car's safety cage with his hands on the steering wheel.

He was taken to the Land O'Lakes Juvenile Assessment Center on charges of petty theft, grand theft of a firearm and giving a false name to an officer.

The boy was later found to be a runaway and had failed to appear in court on earlier armed robbery and grand theft charges.

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