SAUGUS — A 16-year-old from Everett was arrested after he allegedly broke into the Dick’s Sporting Goods in a Saugus mall Monday and stole a rifle and ammunition, triggering a tactical response by law enforcement that lasted about six hours.
The teenager had broken into a store at Square One Mall overnight and was able to bend a rack where the gun was stored, Saugus Police Chief Domenic J. DiMella told reporters at about noon Monday.
Police responded to the Route 1 mall around 4:20 a.m. when a burglar alarm went off and an officer spotted a broken window. Police, including SWAT officers, swarmed the mall and people were asked to avoid the area, but it turned out that the youth was no longer in the store or surrounding area, DiMella said.
The chief said the suspect “was able to bend the rack” to get the weapon. A “thorough search” of the store and mall was conducted, DiMella said, but “no one was found.”
“Originally we thought he was in the building,’’ said DiMella. “I’m not sure what time he left.’’
The mall was shut down during the investigation but reopened Monday afternoon. DiMella said Dick’s Sporting Goods would probably remain closed Monday.
The youth was arrested late Monday morning at his home in Everett.
He will face charges of breaking and entering during the nighttime to commit a felony, malicious destruction of property over $250, and larceny of a firearm. More charges could be added, police said.
On Monday night, police said they had recovered the bolt action rifle in a wooded area near the mall, along with other evidence of the theft.
“I am very pleased that the firearm has been recovered and that there is no longer any lingering danger from this incident to the community,” DiMella said
He said police would scrutinize how guns are stored at the store, but noted that “they’ve been storing guns like this for a long time.”
There were no reports of injuries, police said.
DiMella also said his department takes all burglaries and robberies seriously:
“When you have firearms involved it rises to another level which necessitated the large-scale, but measured response of our mutual aid partners, including NEMLEC, Massachusetts State Police, and the ATF. We want to thank everyone in the community for their patience this morning as we worked through this scene to ensure the safety of all.”
Travis Andersen and Sean Smyth of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Emily Sweeney can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.