Winfield police arrested a teenager late Wednesday for purchasing a handgun with the serial number removed.

Police were called to the 500 block of East 14th Avenue around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday after a family member overheard the 16-year-old telling someone he had purchased the gun earlier this week, Sgt. Greg Venable with the Winfield Police Department said on Thursday.

The teenager allowed police to search his backpack, where officers found a handgun with the serial number scraped off.

The teenager was arrested and faces charges of criminal carry of a firearm and defacing a firearm, Venable said. He was transported to juvenile intake, where he was assessed and released to a parent. Police are still holding the gun as evidence.

Venable said there was no disturbance at the residence and the teen was initially cooperative, although after being taken into custody, he stopped cooperating and refused to talk further about the incident.

Deputies from the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office assisted the WPD during the incident.

Removing a serial number is a federal crime. It is done so a firearm can be illegally sold or traded, Cowley County Sheriff David Falletti said. Removing a serial number means a firearm cannot be traced.

“There is no reason why a law abiding citizen would need to scratch off a serial number,” Falletti said.

Falletti said removing serial numbers isn’t something deputies in his office see a lot of, as most people around here follow the laws regarding this.

Phone calls to the Winfield Police Department with similar questions about the removal of serial numbers were not returned before deadline.

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