Police: Polk teens take bus on 180-mile joyride

Lake Wales teens take bus or joyride

Lakes Wales, Florida -- Three teenagers have been arrested for taking a Lake Wales school bus on a 180-mile joyride, and picking up some friends along the way. Afterward, they returned the bus.

The case started Tuesday when Officer Jonathan Fletcher, Lake Wales High School's resource officer, learned a bus had been stolen and returned, according to police. The 2012 Bluebird belongs to Lake Wales Charter Schools and was parked at Lake Wales High, 1 Highlander Way.

A routine inspection found that fuel was missing and the odometer had 180 more miles than when it was parked by the assigned driver.

Investigators determined the incident occurred between 10:30 p.m. Sunday and 4:30 a.m. Monday. Police said three teenagers entered the unlocked bus, found the keys and then drove it off the property.

The teenagers drove to Lake Wales, Frostproof, Winter Haven and Waverly, during which they picked up three other teens. The teens returned the bus and and parked it where they found it.

Police said they also reviewed surveillance video on the bus, and found that the teens had covered three of the four cameras. The fourth camera gave police video of the teens involved.

Fletcher arrested three juveniles for grand theft auto and trespassing on school property. Police said the three teenagers who were picked up during the joyride are being charged with trespassing on school property. Those three juveniles attend Lake Wales High School, Frostproof High School, and one is home schooled.

CRIME GUIDELINES:10 News not naming juveniles

The bus, which is valued at $53,243.00, was returned with no reported damage.

Police ask that anyone with additional information in then case contact Officer Jonathan Fletcher at (863) 678-4222, Detective Ivelisse Rodriguez at (863) 678-4223 extension 271, or Heartland Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-8477.


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