13-year-old arrested for possession of big piece of plastic; media scares public

| May 21, 2012

SGT K sends us this link which describes the terrifying scene as a boy captured by police with a BB rifle, a replica and an expended, inert AT-4 tube with their K9 team and tossed in the hoosegow;

Three weapons were recovered, including an inert M136 AT4 “LAW” anti-tank weapon, a b.b. gun rifle and a replica 9mm hand gun, police said.

Mario Bruton Sr., 43, was booked into county jail and the 13-year-old was taken to juvenile hall on suspicion of possession of a stolen weapon and possession of illegal weapons.

Yeah, I’m shakin’ here. While someone needs to be punished for having a stolen large useless piece of plastic, and whoever took it was a bonehead, I’m pretty sure that no one was ever in danger of anything worse than getting their eye shot out by the BB rifle. It certainly doesn’t warrant a picture to warn the public that folks are running around in their neighborhoods with a piece of military garbage which looks especially cool. And I’m pretty sure that an expended AT-4 can’t really be considered a weapon beyond it’s potential use as a club.

Category: Media

Comments (21)

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  1. NHSparky says:

    One more reason libs are dipshits–case in point, the 1994 AWB. Never mind the lethality of the weapon, by God it just LOOKS scary, and that’s enough in the eyes of the Brady Bunch.

  2. OWB says:

    Note to defense: Please, please, PLEASE make a connection to Fast & Furious – that these horrid pieces of plastic would not have been available otherwise. Or something along those lines.

  3. JP says:

    WTF, over?

    Are they referring to the pre-loaded AT-4 that can only handle one fire and is discarded after firing? Morons!

    What’s next, we’re going to arrest people for possessing empty brass?

    I weep at the stupidity of many in this nation.

  4. DaveO says:

    Did the cops get peni… weapon envy?

  5. NHSparky says:

    DaveO–I think you had it right with penis envy. After all, when a town like Keene, NH (population 23,400, of which 6500 are college students) “needs” a $300K Urban Assault Vehicle, can them wanting a few AT-4’s to hang on the sides really be that far off?

  6. Hondo says:

    Folks, a bit of perspective just might be in order. Law enforcement treats replica weapons and BB/pellet guns as 100% real until proven otherwise. Displaying a fake weapon of any kind in front of a cop is a really bad idea. As I recall, a fair number of folks have died because they had a fake gun – and the cops had real ones and took no chances.

    Was it an overreaction to arrest these two vice merely confiscating the inert/spent AT4? Perhaps. But to me it’s understandable that the police would treat these as real weapons until they knew for certain otherwise. These days they’d be foolish not to.

  7. 1stCavRVN11B says:

    A couple of months back an alphabet agency showed up at my wife’s antiques shop to investigate a report that there were dangerous weapons within. Eveidently somebody had been scared by what they saw and reported. As a novice military collector, I had put on display an inert LAW (M-72) and Claymore. The agents walked in w/o flashing thier ID and proceeded directly to the display and commenced to dismantle both items. Only after they found them inert did they reluctantly identify themselves. I was none to happy and in retrospect wish I had booby trapped them with a spring type mousetrap or something. But then I guess I would have been cleaning up shit from the floor and they’d have to go change their clothes. Overall, guess it could have been worse. They could’ve surrounded the place and sent in gas and robots and such. I sure as hell miss the days of Sheriff Andy Griffith, but Barney would have had a heart attack on the spot.

  8. rb325th says:

    It is perfectly legal to own inert AT-4s or LAWs rockets.. yes they will likely attract attention, but the fact is they are legal to purchase and own. They are single use… I imagine the training round of the AT-4 which shoots a tracer round is not in the same category though.

  9. Hondo says:

    It’s perfectly legal to own replica firearms too, rb325th. But waving them in someone’s face – or walking around the neighborhood carrying them in plain sight – can get you attention you don’t want.

  10. DaveO says:

    #6 Hondo: why not call SWAT on the kid. You know, just in case the kid acts all belligerent by asking why the cuffs are so tight, or why his cellphone with the camera has been confiscated.

    Might as well just execute the kid on the street, now that he’s got a record. Much safer that way for the uparmored, upgunned cops.

  11. NHSparky says:

    Okay Hondo…but it wasn’t so long ago I went to school where we either came from hunting before school or were going after school and would have the guns on display on the racks in the backvwindows of our trucks. Buck knives? Check those too. Only when the touch-feely types got butthurt about it and started enacting zero tolerance policies which don’t do much of anything for safety but make liberals FEEL better–and isn’t really what they’re all about?–did anyone really give a rat’s ass.

    I understand the need for the police to respond as if it were a real weapon but in reality what crime was being committed to where they needed to respond at all? Now when my son asks for a Red Ryder BB gun, am I gonna have to laugh it off and tell him, “The cops’ll shoot your eye out, kid?”

  12. Hondo says:

    DaveO: my point – which I though should be pretty damned obvious – is that flashing a fake weapon of any kind is likely to attract police attention in an urban setting. That’s particularly true in places like Chicago, DC, CA (where this incident occurred), NYC, MD, and other areas whose governments have a history of having restrictive gun control laws.

    But I’d also guess that many other urban police departments would have reacted similarly, though maybe minus the arrest of the juvenile. Don’t believe me? Just try sitting on an urban rooftop holding what appears to be a rifle (which is what started this incident – the kid was sitting on an urban rooftop with the BB rifle). Or try walking around with a bundle of fake sticks of dynamite with a wire sticking out of them tucked under your arm. I’m betting you’ll get a whole lot of attention PDQ. And that attention might well involve SWAT teams and/or staring down the barrels of numerous police weapons.

    Did the police overreact in arresting both? As I said before, possibly. But these days, the police simply have to take such incidents seriously until they’re proven innocuous.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ah, their “training kicked in” and “let the prosecutor sort it out” but “let’s whup his little ass” in the interim… dude, I’m so sick of cops getting a free ride on sh*t that would end my career or worse (like Leavenworth).

  14. Hondo says:

    NHSparky: this occurred in the greater LA/Riverside/San Bernadino metro area (Colton, near San Bernadino). Urban areas tend to get far more excited about rifles and pistols than do rural areas – particularly when they see someone sitting on a rooftop with a firearm. That’s been the case since even before the UT sniper 45+ years ago.

  15. NHSparky says:

    I used to live in Orange County (Fountain Valley) to be specific. Colton ain’t exactly urban and there are parts of that state that are as rural and isolated as any on the mainland. But CA being what it is and even open carry now being illegal there tells me they don’t give a shit for the Second Amendment or rule of law there, which is one of the myriad reasons I left.

  16. Sean says:

    You can buy M136 tubes and M72 tubes from Militaria dealers and surplus stores legally. They arent stolen weapons and the county now will be on the hook when Mr. Mario sues their asses off

  17. Hondo says:

    Anonymous: the articles I’ve seen said the adult and the juvenile were arrested, not beaten. I haven’t seen any allegations that eithe was beaten by police during their arrest.

    NHSparkey: I’ve been through Colton myself, but that was years ago. However, I satellite photos of the area on Google Maps seem to show Colton being quite urbanized. Other than a large park and a bit of land along the river (may be land reserved for industrial use), the only part of Colton that doesn’t appear developed appears to be the extreme SE part (looks to be canyon country and/or perhaps parkland). From the photos, I’d guess around 70% of the land area is developed as residential/commercial/industrial – and maybe 85-90% if you count parkland and/or undeveloped industrial areas.

  18. WhiteOneAlpha says:

    I dont live far from Colton. There’s actually gang issues in that area. It’s not uncommon for gangbangers to have explosives, and it’s not uncommon for gangbangers to recruit at the young age of 13. I can understand why the cops would react the way the did in the area they did. It’s not like this was Arizona or Indiana. California has real gang problems, and liberals who are too afraid to defend themselves.

    Also, did you guys hear about the cops being targeted by a biker gang (Vagos) in Hemet, CA? That’s not too far away from Colton, and Hemet is way smaller. These guys were throwing hand grenades at cop cars parked at the station!

  19. David says:

    Doesn’t it take an AT round 35 meters to “arm” anyway?

  20. DR_BRETT says:

    Appears, that that illegal WEBSTRAP could strangle something.

  21. DaveO says:


    I’ll concede the kid is lucky he wasn’t assassinated by the cops. Here are my questions, which aren’t fair because neither of us are on the scene:

    1. Are BB guns illegal in Colton, CA?

    2. Are demilitarized tubes that formerly carried an AT rocket illegal?

    3. Is the fake pistol illegal?

    Now, if the kid is on a rooftop, that implies the cops had the capability of putting a persistent stare on the kid. If the pilot filmed the kid targeting humans or pets – that’s a crime. If the kid was playing around with a weapon – that’s – at the very, very most – a short lecture on safety to the kid.

    So, either the cops are incredibly unprofessional, or the kid and his dad have a history with the police.