Lake County teens stole guns to sell to classmates, police say

Students arrested at South Lake High School

GROVELAND, Fla. – Three South Lake High School students skipped class Wednesday morning and broke into a house to steal guns that they planned to sell to their peers, according to the Groveland Police Department.

Police arrived at the home at 9:24 a.m. after a witness called to say he saw two teens breaking into his neighbor's home. The neighbor's surveillance video showed a light blue Mercury Grand Marquis dropped off two high school-aged boys at 9:05 a.m. then drove off.

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The boys go through the home's back gate, out of the camera's view. They're seen again at 9:10 a.m. when the Mercury Grand Marquis pulls back up next to the home and the boys get in, this time carrying weapons, police said. The witness followed the car to get the license plate information.

Police found the vehicle parked at South Lake High School and noticed it was warm to the touch as if it had just been driven. School officials were able to give authorities the name of the student who owns the car.

Administrators told police that the student, a 16-year-old girl, had attended first period class, but skipped second and third period before returning for her fourth period class, the affidavit said.

"All of them checked in and were marked there as being on campus, and at some point between first and second period they left campus and all met up," Groveland Police Department Detective Jack Gunter said.

The teen told police her two friends asked her to drop them off at the home so they could get some things and they would call her when they were ready to be picked up.

She told police she was upset with the boys for bringing the four stolen guns into her vehicle. She then drove them to a vacant house about a mile away where they stashed the gun and a backpack, police said. After that, all three teens returned to school.

Police also questioned the two boys, ages 15 and 17. The 17-year-old boy told police he was planning to keep the handgun and then sell the other three guns, police said.

"It's very scary, especially since these guns were fully loaded and ready, all they had to do was pull the trigger," Gunter said.

The teen told authorities that he knows the girl who lives at the home they burglarized, according to the affidavit.

The girl took police to the abandoned home and there they found the stolen AR-15 assault rifle. handgun, shotgun and hunting rifle as well as the backpack full of jewelry, a ski mask with holes in it and gloves, police said.

Gunter said the teens had also tried to break into the home on Monday, but were unsuccessful. 

Police charged the girl with accessory after the fact to armed burglary and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. The two boys were charged with armed burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, grand theft of a firearm and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

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