Teens accused of police cruiser break-in and stealing a handgun

Police officer left handgun in car unlocked

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Two brazen teenagers are in police custody accused of breaking into a Delray Beach police cruiser - and stealing a handgun.

Police say 17-year-old Jose Mejias used a pry tool to get into the cruiser through the window Sunday night, while 16-year-old Cristino Strickland stood lookout.

Police say they got their hands on a police handgun left under the driver's seat; shell casings found nearby suggest rounds were fired.

K-9 units helped find the teens who made threats to police and had fled the scene.

"Jose Mejias made numerous comments if given the chance he'd shoot police officers," said detective Mike Muller.

Muller says at least one of them admitted to being in a gang.

"Part of gang initiation activity is to break in to emergency vehicles, police cars and get firearms and weapons," said detective Muller.

Delray Beach Police Department policy requires that any gun left inside a police car is locked up or mounted.

"The mistake was made by the officer and it will be dealt with here at the police department," said Sgt. Nicole Guerriero.

The officer is under internal review, he is still patrolling the streets. As for the suspects, detective Muller says they need to stay off the streets.

"We want the public to know these individuals are dangerous, they've been arrested for crimes, violent felonies and public awareness is key," said the detective.

Right now the teens are being charged as juveniles but police say prosecutors are considering charging them as adults because of their extensive criminal backgrounds.

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