9-year-old boy arrested after allegedly stealing gum

Story highlights

  • Police: The boy missed two court appearances, possibly due to transportation problems
  • Report: The prosecutor regrets that his office requested an arrest warrant

(CNN)Police in Idaho arrested a 9-year-old boy who failed to appear in court. His crime, they say? Stealing a pack of gum.

The petty theft actually took place over the summer, but a Post Falls officer made the arrest last week, Police Chief Scott Haug said.
    "A local judge issued an arrest warrant for a 9-year-old for failure to appear in court," he told CNN. "Our officer located the child sometime last week, transported the child to the detention facility. The child was not handcuffed and was treated very well."
      Even so, the police chief called the arrest warrant for the child "odd" and said "it is a most unusual circumstance."
      The arrest warrant was issued after the boy missed two court appearances, Haug said. The chief said he thinks the court appearances were missed because the boy's mother was having difficulty finding transportation.
      "If we had known that, we could have helped sooner with transportation," he said.
        Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said he now regrets what happened to the boy.
        "After reviewing the file today, I have concluded that my office's request to have an arrest warrant issued was a mistake under the circumstances," McHugh told USA Today on Monday. "
        McHugh said the boy did not go to jail and was released Friday -- the same day he was arrested.
          "I regret this having taken place and will do everything in my power to avoid this type of mistake in the future."
          Haug said he was not sure whether the mother will face any charges.