A 14-year-old girl caused a stir at a north Florida middle school when she handed out more than $10,000 that she is accused of stealing from her grandmother, officials said.
Marion County deputies responded to Lake Weir Middle School in Summerfield on Thursday after reports that a student was giving classmates hundreds of dollars each, according to an arrest report. Summerfield is about 60 miles northwest of Orlando.
School officials conducted a search of the girl’s backpack and found about $2,500, deputies said. The girl said she had been given the money by an unknown former student who wanted the money disseminated. It was later determined that the girl had broken into her grandmother’s home safe and stolen about $13,500 of the woman’s life savings, investigators said.
The grandmother told deputies that the money was from the sale of a house and that having the money taken was "devastating," the arrest report stated.
The girl, who NBC News is not naming because she's a minor, eventually admitted to investigators that she broke into the safe using a screwdriver and metal pick.
"She advised she took a stack of 20 dollar bills the size of about 6 inches out of the safe," the report said, noting that the girl said she handed all the money out at school and at the bus stop.
She didn't say why she took the money or why she decided to give it away to her classmates.
By Friday, officials had recovered about $700 of the money that had been given to other students. That money and the $2,500 recovered from the girl’s backpack were returned to the grandmother.
The girl is facing a grand theft charge. It's not clear if she has obtained an attorney.