Apr. 13—LAWRENCE — Two teens were charged with illegal possession of an AR-15 assault rifle located among a cache of weapons and ammunition, after they broke into a Springfield Street apartment early Tuesday morning to steal high-end, collectible sneakers, police said.
The teens, ages 19 and 16, were captured by patrol officers after neighbors heard noise and banging coming from a third-floor apartment at 130 Springfield St. at 12:34 a.m., police said.
Hermon Jackson, 19, of Methuen, and his younger accomplice were trying to steal Air Jordan Retro and Yeezy sneakers, collectors' shoes which sell for hundreds of dollars a pair, according to police reports.
Police Chief Roy Vasque said the discovery of the assault rifle and other weapons was definitely alarming, particularly on Springfield Street, a neighborhood marked by crime, violence and drug activity for decades.
"Obviously it's very concerning when teens are running around with fire-power like that," he said.
It's unclear if the teens brought the AR-15 with them or found it in the apartment early Tuesday morning, police said.
Detectives on Tuesday were trying to pinpoint the owner of the AR-15, which Vasque said he believed was stolen. The teens also had other burglary tools, including screwdrivers and a crowbar, along with the weapons and ammunition, police said.
Officers seized 14 pairs of the high-end sneakers — Air Jordan Retro and Yeezy types, according to a lengthy police inventory of items found.
Vasque pointed to the expense of the sneakers and how they are collectors' items. He said the break-in for the sneakers "lends itself toward their age."
"Sneakers have always been a big deal, especially for youth and they can sell them online," he said.
Bail was set at $25,000 for each teen after they were arrested and charged early Tuesday morning with illegal possession of a firearm without an FID card, breaking and entering in the nighttime to commit a felony, unlicensed possession of ammunition, defacing a serial number on a firearm, illegal possession of burglarious tools and illegal possession of a large capacity weapon, police said.
The 16-year-old was taken to a secure facility for juveniles in Peabody and his grandmother, his legal guardian, was notified, police said.
Jackson was expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Lawrence District Court.
When police got the apartment building, they saw the door and door frame to the third-floor apartment were both damaged.
Police knocked on the door, and though they could hear movement inside, no one answered. Officers believed someone was running out the back door and the two teens were found out back by police, according to a report.
Officers then found some of the sneakers in a pillow case and the AR-15 and a drum ammunition magazine, a box containing large quantities of ammunition in a Marshall's bag.
In the third-floor apartment, officers found more Air Jordan sneakers and a crowbar on the kitchen counter. Police said they believe the teens used the crowbar to gain access into the apartment.
Outside of the building, police said they found a 2014 Nissan Altima with the trunk and driver's side door open. In the trunk were more Air Jordan sneakers and another firearm was in the car, police said.
Officers Jose DeLaCruz, Jessica Botero, Timothy Dube and Thomas Murphy investigated the break-in call, police said.
Last summer, veteran Lawrence police officer Carl Farrington was struck by a car and seriously injured after responding to a burglary in progress on Springfield Street.
He suffered severe ankle and leg injuries and was Med-Flighted to a Boston hospital after the Aug. 3 incident.
Criminal charges are pending against two men in the incident. Farrington is still off the job, at home recuperating.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.