ROSEVILLE, Minn. — While contrite and claiming something of an alibi, a St. Paul, Minnesota teenager is in juvenile detention after police suspect he stole a school bus and crashed at a gas station on Monday. TV station WCCO reports that officers were dispatched to a Shell gas station shortly before 8 a.m. where a 14-year-old had sideswiped a fuel pump island with the stolen bus.
WCCO reports that the station manager kept him in custody until police arrived. The teen said he was sorry and claimed he was trying to return the bus back to its station.
Everything got started when the original driver had left it unattended for about 20 minutes while picking up coffee at gas station.
A news release from the Roseville Police Department indicates the teen told officers that he believed the bus was “abandoned” and admitted to taking it. The teen said he drove it back the bus company’s lot, however, he became scared when he overheard on the bus radio that police had been dispatched to find it.
After that, the teen said he decided to leave the terminal. The company’s operations manager was aware of the situation and said he had received a call from his driver indicating the bus had been stolen and also saw the bus enter the lot.
The manager told police that he followed the bus and at one point tried to order the teen suspect to stop. However, the teen accelerated through a red light and proceeded to the gas station where he crashed.
If convicted of felony auto theft, the teen could spend five years in confinement, be ordered to pay a fine of $10,000, or be subject to both penalties. The bus itself is valued at $45,000 according to RPD. A 30-year veteran of the police force told WCCO he had never seen anything like this incident.
“In my 30 years this is a first for me. I’ve never heard of a 14-year-old stealing a school bus, which is extremely unusual. We’re just fortunate that no one was hurt during this ordeal,” Lieutenant Lorne Rosand told WCCO.