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Two Sunlake High School students arrested for stealing guns, ammo from home

5:02 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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Lutz, Florida -- Two Sunlake High School students were arrested Friday for allegedly burglarizing a home and stealing items including seven firearms, ammo, knives and a cigar pipe collection worth nearly $5,300.

Pasco County Sheriff's detectives say the burglary in the Willow Bend community was reported on Dec. 18.

Nearly a week later, some of the stolen property -- including liquor, cigars, and other consumable items -- were found in a wooded area near the burglarized home. However, the firearms were still missing.

On Jan. 8, one of the guns and one of the knives were turned in to the Tampa Police Department by private attorney who, according the report, claimed a client turned them over to him on Dec. 24, knowing they had been stolen in a burglary. Police say the attorney would not reveal his client's information due to attorney-client privilege.

On Jan. 11, a break came in the case when two boys from Sunlake High School had reportedly run away and a detective was alerted the fact word around campus was that they may have been involved in a burglary where guns were stolen. When detectives investigated further they discovered both of the boys live near the home on Fox Chapel Drive.

The boys were later recovered by their parents in Knoxville, Tennessee.

On Jan. 15, detectives interviewed one of the boys, identified as 16-year-old Matthew Gerken, who they report fully confessed to the burglary and that they used the homeowner's own car to move the property out of the home. 

Soon after, they discovered the other boy allegedly involved, identified as 16-year-old Devin Shapland, is the son the attorney who turned in the gun and knife to Tampa Police.

Shapland was not interviewed because his father invoked his son's right to counsel.

On Jan. 22, detectives interviewed a fellow classmate and friend of Shapland's who, they report, told them Shapland picked him up at his home in the victim's stolen Jeep the night of the burglary and took him back to the home. While there, he said the two smoked marijuana and rented a Pay-Per-View movie.

Shapland again invoked his right to counsel in the secondary incident.

Detectives are still trying to recover the six other firearms.

Gerken and Shapland have each been charged with armed burglary of a residence and grand theft of a vehicle, both of which are felonies.

The third unidentified teen has been charged with burglary of a residence.

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