SPRING HILL — A 13-year-old boy was arrested Thursday after Hernando County deputies said he stole an AK-47 assault rifle earlier this month while helping his mother clean a home.
The teen faces a charge of grand theft of a firearm, a felony. The Times is not publishing his name because he is a juvenile.
On or around Feb. 12, the boy was helping his mother, a housekeeper, at a home on Dow Lane in Spring Hill. While there, he took a rifle bag with the AK-47, numerous rounds of ammunition and several magazines, authorities said.
A Hernando County Sheriff's Office detective notified the teen's mother of the theft, and she eventually found the bag hidden in her son's closet.
The rifle and its accessories were returned to the owner, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said the teen confessed to taking the bag "because he really liked it and knew that his mother would never buy him one," according to a news release. He told deputies he had no intention of using it.
He was arrested and taken to the Marion Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Ocala.
The teen has not been linked to any other crimes.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis used the arrest as an opportunity to caution owners about properly securing firearms, citing several recent accidental shootings in the Tampa Bay area.
"This is a situation that could have ended in tragedy," Nienhuis said.