By Yadira Betances
---- — LAWRENCE - A 16-year-old boy from Lawrence was arrested today and charged with the theft of two high-powered rifles from an unmarked FBI vehicle parked in Andover.
Andover police said the boy was in custody today and that his father was with him, and that the youth was expected to be arraigned in Lawrence Juvenile Court.
Interim Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said the weapons were turned in at the Lawrence Police Department at 2:30 a.m. today by a relative of the young suspect.
The rifles were stolen from an unmarked FBI SWAT vehicle parked near the home of the FBI agent Wednesday evening to early Thursday morning.
Other vehicles parked at nearby homes in the same Andover neighborhood were also broken into.
Andover Commander Charles Hezeltine said recovery of the weapons started with old-fashioned police work.
He said an Andover detective lifted a fingerprint from another vehicle broken into that night which led to identification of the suspect.
The youth was arrested about 11 a.m. today.
Fitzpatrick said the relative turned the rifles in "because he wanted to get them off the street."
"The most important thing was to get them off the streets and out of the hands of anyone who could do any damage with them," Fitzpatrick said this morning.
The HS Precision Pro-Series 2000 Sniper Rifle and a Colt M16-A1Rifle were stolen between Wednesday evening and yesterday morning from an unmarked FBI SWAT emergency response vehicle parked in a residential area on Lowell Street, Andover.
Fitzpatrick said the guns were immediately brought over to the Andover Police Department by Lawrence Police officers and FBI agents.
The FBI had offered a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the recovery of the weapons.
Hazeltine said it was up to the FBI to decide on how the reward will be handled.
The items were stolen from other vehicles parked at nearby homes in the same neighborhood during the same time period Wednesday evening to early Thursday morning.
It is too early to say whether the agent responsible for the weapons will be disciplined, but the spokesman says per agency protocol, an internal investigation will be conducted.
In a separate incident earlier this week, a bulletproof vest was stolen out of another FBI agent’s car. It was later recovered in Boston’s South End.