Teen accused of stealing assault rifle from police car smiles, laughs in court

Police say Christopher Clarke, 16, seen in video stealing gun, other police gear

By Erica Rakow - Reporter, Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A 16-year-old boy accused of stealing an assault rifle from an Opa-locka police cruiser in Pembroke Pines appeared in court Friday, sticking out his middle finger for the Local 10 News camera.

Christopher Clarke could be seen smiling and laughing as he sat in court waiting to appear before a juvenile judge.

Police said Clarke was arrested Thursday after surveillance video showed him stealing from an Opa-locka Police Department cruiser parked outside the officer's Pembroke Pines home early Tuesday.

The video shows the teen taking, among other items, an AR-15 assault rifle and three fully loaded magazines.

"This is a very brazen burglar to have targeted a marked police vehicle and having returned three times to remove items from within, spending several minutes doing so," Pembroke Pines police Capt. Al Xiques said.

Friends and family who recognized Clarke urged the teenager to turn himself in to police. Clarke did so Thursday morning, surrendering at the Hallandale Beach Police Department.

Investigators are still trying to recover the stolen weapon and police gear.

Although Clarke is the only one seen in the video, detectives believe he's working with several other thieves who have burglarized multiple vehicles in the area.

Clarke is being held in a juvenile detention center for 21 days. He is scheduled to appear in court again Wednesday, when another judge will review his other open cases.

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