The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 8, 2013

Red-faced FBI recovers high-powered SWAT rifles

CNHI News Service

LAWRENCE, Mass. — A 16-year-old boy with a police record was arrested Friday for breaking into an unmarked FBI SWAT vehicle parked at an agent's suburban Boston home overnight and making off with two high-powered rifles and ammunition.

The stolen rifles proved embarrassing for the FBI, and the agency immediately offered a $20,000 reward for their recovery. FBI rules forbid leaving weapons unsecured in an unattended vehicle.

The teenager was arrested at his residence in Lawrence, Mass., 25 miles north of Boston around 11 a.m. He was not identified because of his age, appearing in juvenile court on breaking and entering, and theft of firearms charges.

The stolen HS Precision Pro-Series 2000 sniper rifle, and a Colt M16-A1 rifle were turned in by a relative of the youth. They were reported missing early Thursday from the FBI utility vehicle parked at the agent's home in neighboring Andover, Mass.

It was not clear if the relative would qualify for the FBI reward.

Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said the relative, who also was not identified, turned in the stolen rifles "because he wanted to get them off the street."

Lawrence, a hardscrabble former mill town, has one of the highest crime rates in Massachusetts and New England. Violence is a common, almost everyday occurrence.

Police said several other vehicles in the FBI agent's upscale neighborhood also had their cars broken into. It was not known if the FBI SWAT rifles were secured in locked cases as also required by the agency.

Police said detectives lifted a fingerprint of the juvenile suspect from one of the ransacked vehicles that matched a print already on file from the the youth's prevsious run-ins with the law. Police said they later also found the suspect's fingerprint on the outside of the FBI vehicle. A computer match was quickly made, followed by the arrest of the suspect.

The FBI said it will conduct an internal investigation to determine if the agent, who was not identified, should be disciplined for leaving the high-powered rifles in the unmarked SWAT vehicle outside his home in apparent violation of FBI protocol.


Details for this story were provided by The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.