SUMMERFIELD, Fla. — A 14-year-old girl caused a stir at a north Florida middle school this week when she handed out more than $10,000 that officials say she stole from her grandmother's safe.
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 searched the girl's backpack and found about $2,500, deputies said.
The girl accused of stealing the money reportedly told deputies a friend who’d moved away gave it to her to hand out.
However, students who accepted the money told investigators they were told it was her grandmother’s money, and she had permission to give it away.
Investigators said they later determined that the girl had broken into her grandmother's home safe and stolen about $13,500 of the woman's life savings.
Michelle Spaulding told Fox affiliate WOFL her daughter was offered some cash but refused it.
"When she came home, she said that there was a student that was passing out money at school," Spaulding said. "She decided to be the good child that I've raised, thankfully, and said, 'No, I'm not taking that money. It's stolen!'"
The girl is facing a felony grand theft charge. The arrest report doesn't say why the girl allegedly took the money or why she gave it away to her classmates.
"I don't know if he was trying to get popular out of it or get some friends out of it," Spaulding posited.
By Friday, officials had recovered about $700 of the money that had been handed out to other students. That money and the $2,500 recovered from the girl's backpack were returned to the grandmother.
The AP contributed to this report.