Boy, 12, among 3 arrested in Hernando gun shop burglary, 1 suspect on the run

SPRING HILL, Fla. (WFLA) – A 12-year-old boy is among the three suspects who were arrested for the burglary of a gun shop that prompted fear and school lock downs in Hernando County on Monday morning.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said that the three suspects are ages 12, 15 and 16. One suspect is still on the run.

Douglas Travers’ neighborhood, Hibiscus Springs, was on lockdown for hours as deputies searched his neighborhood for the suspects.

“The helicopter was buzzing around,” said Travers. “I came out, the deputy cars were all over.”

Deputies had asked Spring Hill residents to stay inside and lock their doors as they searched for the suspects on Monday morning.

Challenger K-8, Nature Coast Technical High School and Chocachatti Elementary School were also placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure. The lockdowns were later lifted.

Detectives said the suspects scattered when the vehicle they were in got a flat tire near Suncoast Parkway and Spring Hill Drive.

Travers said he saw deputies apprehending someone near Powell Middle School.

“As I was going up past the school around Barkley, I was in traffic, but I glanced and saw a lot of activity there and apparently they had somebody they were arresting,” he said.

Investigators say at about 4:15 a.m. on Monday, four males burglarized the Gold-n-Pawnd Gun Shop and Gun Range located at 5224 Mariner Blvd. in Spring Hill.

The thieves were not able to get past the burglar bars.

The owner believes two of the suspects were responsible for smash and grabs at his second location on County Line Road on Friday.

He believes when they didn’t find guns at the County Line Road location, they targeted his store on Mariner Boulevard on Monday.

“That kind of robbery needs a little extra attention because they’re not using the guns to go to the range and shoot them, that’s for sure,” said Travers.

The vehicle used in the crime was reported stolen in the Orlando area.

Law enforcement say it’s a growing trend where criminals come from out of town to target gun stores.

Thieves have also hit gun shops in Tampa, Inverness, Lakeland and Zephyrhills.

“We’re not going to tolerate it, we’re going to find them,” said Denise Moloney, Public Information Officer with the Hernando Co. Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives say they were all wearing hoodies and white tank tops.

The suspects who were caught have not yet been identified.

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