Saugus Police have arrested a 16-year-old male suspect at his home in Everett, bringing an end to a police search Monday morning that shut down the Square One Mall in Saugus.
In a press conference, Saugus Police Chief Domenic J. DiMella said the teen was seen holding a weapon at Dick’s Sporting Goods early Monday morning and it was unclear if he had dropped it while escaping the building. Police said they are still looking for the gun that was stolen.
Surveillance video inside the mall helped police identify the teen suspect who was arrested later Monday morning in Everett.
The arrest followed a chaotic morning at the Square One Mall. Authorities spent more than six hours sweeping through and searching the entire complex for the suspect and evidence. Police from Saugus, Melrose and Wakefield were joined by state police and a regional SWAT team to search the facility for the person who managed to steal a rifle and ammunition from a typically secured sporting store.
Mall employees waiting around parking lots in the muggy heat were sent home by their employers around noontime. Shortly before 1:30 p.m., Area Mall Manager Mike Connell announced that the mall had re-opened, though specific retailers may open at different times. Dick’s Sporting Goods remained closed for the day.
The teen suspect reportedly smashed a window and stole one of the store’s long guns and some ammunition. The intrusion happened sometime before 4:15 a.m., when Saugus Police were first called to the scene.
Early reports said the suspect was believed to be inside the Dick’s Sporting Goods store, but police later said it is unclear where the suspect was. Authorities swept through the entire mall twice, and K9 units searched around the perimeter. A police dog spent a lot of time near an outdoor trash container that is located next to one of several exits to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
“If there’s a gun missing, that blows my mind,” said a Dick’s employee who wished to remain anonymous. The employee said they worked in the store’s gun department on the second floor, known as “the lodge,” for eight years. The worker received no direct notice from Dick’s about the break-in, but decided to come inspect the scene after hearing what had happened on television news.
“We are very careful about how we lock them. I wouldn’t want to be that employee who forgot to lock that rack,” the employee said.
Police said the teen suspect was able to bend a burglar bar that guarded the guns.
Every entrance to the Square One Mall was blocked off by police cars Monday as authorities searched the area. A heavy police presence was still active around noontime.
Nearby Saugus middle and high schools responded with “stay in place” orders, reportedly prompting some parents to come pick up their children. Belmonte Middle School released children early in the day, after cancelling a Moving On ceremony.