WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Two teenagers are facing charges after a string of thefts in West Lafayette that included two stolen vehicles and a stolen handgun.

Police said the suspects are boys ages 15 and 16. They will not be identified unless tried as adults.

The West Lafayette Police Department said it took several complaints regarding thefts from unlocked vehicles in the New Chauncey area between March 26 and March 30, as well as two reports of stolen vehicles, one of which contained a handgun.

The first stolen vehicle was found in a West Lafayette parking lot several hours after a report was made, said WLPD. Police said the other stolen vehicle was spotted in Lafayette and fled from Lafayette Police Department officers twice before it was found abandoned in Lafayette. The stolen handgun, however, was not in the vehicle.

In response, West Lafayette police increased patrols in the New Chauncey area. On Sunday at about 4:45 a.m., an officer noticed suspicious activity near a vehicle parked behind a residence in the area of W. Lutz Ave. and Rusk St. Police said as the officer began to investigate, the two teenage boys fled on foot. 

WLPD said officers searched the area, found the teens and took them into custody without incident. Further investigation revealed the boys were trying to steal another vehicle, but it became stuck when they attempted to drive it off an elevated parking area, explained the police department.

Police found that one of the boys was still in possession of items that had been reported stolen from a vehicle overnight on March 28. The handgun was also located nearby, added WLPD.

Investigators recovered additional property that they believe might be stolen but has not yet been reported. As the investigation continues, anyone who believes they may be a victim of the thefts or has additional information should call WLPD at 765-755-5200.

Police encourage the public to lock their unattended vehicles, refrain from keeping spare keys and firearms inside their vehicles, and keep valuables and other belongings out of sight.