A group of Los Angeles teenagers, who stole three police cars, may have drove them round impersonating officers for up to a month before finally being tracked down.
The Los Angeles Police Department chief, Charlie Beck, confirmed to media that three teens, age 15, 16 and 17, had been arrested after a chase involving two of the stolen vehicles in the city on Wednesday night. A third was recovered after one of those arrested told them its location.
The teenagers had stolen the vehicles during a visit to the police precinct as part of a scheme to give local kids a taste of life in the police. Clearly, they weren’t satisfied with just an insight into the criminal justice system and wanted to find out what it is really like to be a cop.
According to Beck the teens “gamed the system” by using the name of a sergeant who was on vacation to check out a range of equipment and the three cars.
They drove out the station, without raising any alarm, in the three vehicles along with communication devices and stun guns. One of the teens was wearing a police-issue bulletproof vest when arrested.
Beck admitted they are unaware of when the cars were taken and the teenagers could have had them for over a month. The cops only noticed the items were missing during a recent routine inventory check, which prompted them to check CCTV in the area. One car was spotted at a gas station being driven by a young woman and they used this to track down the group in Los Angeles this week.
It’s unknown if they actually impersonated officers while they had the vehicles, with Beck promising to fully investigate exactly what went wrong.