Teen cadets go on joyride after stealing LAPD patrol cars (VIDEO)

Three teens who previously took part in the Los Angeles Police Department’s cadet program are in a bit of trouble after they stole three patrol cars and other items last week then led police on a chase that ended in multiple crashes.

The teens, who were not publicly identified because they are 15 to 17 years old, were arrested following the fiasco and presumably no longer enrolled in the youth program.

Authorities noticed the missing SUVs around 5 p.m. Wednesday and while one was almost immediately recovered near the police station, it was several hours later before the other vehicles were found and the teens apprehended. The two cruisers were disabled after the teens crashed them and one innocent bystander suffered minor injuries when her vehicle was struck during the pursuit.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said the vehicles must be signed out with an automated system before leaving the department and it appears the teens “gamed” the system by using the credentials of a sergeant who was on vacation at the time. Beck said in addition to stealing the patrol cars, authorities believe the teens “may have been impersonating” officers.

Beck said a “top-to-bottom” investigation will be conducted and the program has been suspended at the two stations the cadets were assigned.

[ Los Angeles Times ]