So, when one in is school to become a member of law enforcement, it goes without saying that he or she should want to do everything possible to maintain a clean record. But, that’s not always the case. Kids will be kids, even if they are in a college program designed for future success on the right side of the law. Sometimes, that criminal justice student partying too hard lands himself a DUI or is caught smoking a little reefer on the weekend. Other times, police volunteers may take cruisers out for a joy ride around town. Teenagers, no matter their intentions, often make silly mistakes.
Three California teenagers in a program for volunteers who work in police stations and go through an academy to learn about the criminal justice system were no exception. They had been assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department. What started out as a prank, may land them behind bars and ensure they never get a chance to graduate.
The trio, two boys and a girl ages 15, 16 and 17, for reasons that remain unclear, thought it would be a great idea to steal three LAPD cruisers and go on patrol around the city for several days. On the job training, perhaps? Their supervisors didn’t see it that way.
The teens used an alias of an unsuspecting officer out to vacation to sign out the cars, along with stun guns, radios and other police equipment With the proper signature in place, they quite easily drove the vehicles off the station house’s parking lot and went on with their joy ride. From there, it’s unclear what shenanigans the kids pulled, or whether they had actually impersonated officers (a very serious offense) while on the road, sounding sirens and pulling over civilians. This is still under investigation.
Nevertheless, a real sergeant who was conducting a routine inventory noticed one of the patrol vehicles was unaccounted for on the lot and notified his colleagues. Officers immediately began searching for it, and while investigating, they were able to recover videotaped footage showing a young woman with the car at a gas pump before heading out on her joy ride. As the investigation intensified, they would soon discover this was only one of three missing vehicles.
An officer who was patrolling in South Los Angeles on Wednesday notice the two others enjoying their joy ride together nonchalantly and tried to pull them over. However, the drivers sped up instead, and they were captured only after two dangerous high speed chases that ended with crashes. The third was recovered in a lot just around the corner from the station. A pedestrian woman suffered a minor injury amid the pursuits, said police spokesperson Josh Rubenstein. She was “an innocent bystander in a separate vehicle.” They kids may have thought their plan was brilliant, but it was probably the dumbest thing they could have done. They’re now in big, big trouble.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he had ordered a thorough review of the department’s cadet program and policies for managing inventory after the vehicles were recovered.
“We are going to take this apart top to bottom,” Beck stated. “We’re going to see what we can do better and we’re going to do it.”
The three teens were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and other charges. One was even wearing a bulletproof vest when he was taken back to the station.