14-Year-Old Accused of Delaware Gun Store Smash-and-Grab Robbery

AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File

He's not old enough to drive or legally possess a firearm, but police in Delaware say a 14-year-old is responsible for driving a flatbed truck into the front of a New Castle gun store earlier this week and getting away with more than a dozen purloined firearms. In fact, the Delaware State Police say this was just one incident in a spree of crimes committed by the teen. 

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New Castle County police announced Friday morning that a 14-year-old had been charged with 16 felony firearm theft charges, burglary, car theft and other counts in early Monday, May 27, 2024, theft at Millers Gun Center at West Jackson Avenue and U.S Route 13 in New Castle, New Castle County police said.

The arrest actually happened the day after the heist as details of the smash-and-grab came to light, police said.

"Through investigative measures, Detectives with the Criminal Investigations Unit were able to identify a 14-year-old male from Wilmington as the suspect," New Castle County police wrote. "Subsequently, on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, Officers from the New Castle County Mobile Enforcement Team located the juvenile in a vehicle and took him into custody without incident."

The 14-year-old -- who wasn't named since he is a minor -- was arraigned and sent to the New Castle County Detention Center after being unable to post $79,000 cash bail. 

Delaware State Police then connected the boy to several other recent robberies and burglaries.

"After the arrest, it was discovered that the 14-year-old male was also connected to multiple incidents within the Delaware State Police’s jurisdiction," county police wrote. "Detectives from the Delaware State Police were notified, and they effectively resolved several significant cases as a result."

The first heist connected to the Wilmington teen was on May 15, 2004, just before 9 p.m. when state troopers responded to a knifepoint robbery at the Walgreens at 802 Philadelphia Pike in Wilmington, Delaware State Police said.

"The investigation revealed an unknown male suspect approached a Walgreens employee at the front counter and demanded money from the registers while pointing a large knife at her," state police wrote. "The employee complied, and the suspect fled on foot."

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Police have also connected the teen to the burglary of a florist in Wilmington on May 17th and four burglaries of medical buildings between May 22nd and May 27th.  

Lawmakers in Dover paid little attention to juvenile crime this year. Instead, their signature public safety measure was the creation of a new permit-to-purchase scheme that requires anyone who wants to lawfully purchase or possess a pistol to be fingerprinted and provide proof of training; which must include "live fire shooting exercises conducted on a range, including the expenditure of a minimum of 100 rounds of ammunition." 

The new law, which won't take effect until the end of 2025, is already being challenged in court, and hopefully it will be overturned before it can be enforced. Even if that is the case, however, Delaware Democrats are going to continue punishing lawful gun owners for exercising their Second Amendment rights instead of turning their attention to actual criminals like this 14-year-old. 

I wouldn't be surprised if those same legislators target gun stores next. We've already seen states like Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California try to impose expensive and intrusive mandates on FFLs while rejecting increased penalties for stealing firearms. Gun control activists would much rather blame the victim in these thefts than punish the offender. Their goal is to reduce the number of legally-owned firearms in this country, not to ensure that criminals face consequences for their actions, so why bother going after a gun thief when you can saddle gun stores with so much red tape and costly security requirements that they can't afford to remain open for business?

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