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Ramsey County boy faces felony after taking bus on joy ride

What may have started as an innocent prank has led to serious criminal charges against a 14-year-old Ramsey County boy.

On Monday morning, the driver of a Centerline Charter school bus went into a gas station in Roseville to get a cup of coffee and when she came back out her bus was gone.

Police say the 14-year-old boy said he saw the bus unattended for about 20 minutes before deciding to drive it back to the Centerline Charter bus stop. However, when he pulled into the bus stop he heard police being called by a Centerline manager on the bus’ radio and fled, police said.

The manager then reportedly got into his own vehicle and followed the 14-year-old back to the gas station. The 14-year-old then accidentally struck a fuel pump at the station, which disabled the bus.

Police arrived shortly thereafter and found the 14-year-old crying over what he had done. The boy told police he was just trying to return the bus back to where it belonged.

Even though it appears the boy did not have ill intentions and no one was hurt, he still faces serious consequences for his actions. He was brought to the Ramsey County Juvenile detention Center in St. Paul and now potentially faces an auto theft charge, which is a felony in Minnesota.

If convicted, the 14-year-old could face up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Although there are a different set of rules that apply when juveniles are charged with crimes, they can be treated as adults or face extended juvenile jurisdiction prosecution when charged with serious felonies.

Young people make poor choices -- that’s just a fact of life. But when the poor choices involve criminal behavior, they could face serious charges. A criminal defense lawyer with experience in juvenile delinquency can help protect the young person’s rights and future.

Source: CBS Minnesota, “Roseville Police: 14-Year-Old Arrested After Stealing School Bus,” Feb. 10, 2014

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