Juveniles break into elementary, steal school bus

It's like a cross between "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Grand Theft Auto."
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 10:42 PM EDT
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COAL GROVE, Ohio (WSAZ) - A couple of kids broke into a school and took off in an unlikely getaway vehicle.

People taking a walk around Dawson-Bryant Elementary in Coal Grove on Saturday morning discovered a window of the school had been shattered. That led to another discovery of a theft that Superintendent Steve Easterling never conceived of.

“I never dreamed of anything like this happening,” Easterling said.

He says Friday night, two boys around 14 and 15 years old left the Mended Reeds facility for juveniles without permission and broke into the elementary school a few miles away around 11 p.m.

He says they emptied fire extinguishers in the gym and stole a laptop and iPad. Easterling says they also found a key to a school bus that was in the parking lot.

Easterling says the boys travelled in the stolen bus all the way to Highland County -- nearly 100 miles away.

“I was very surprised they were able to do that,” Easterling said. “Any more, you just never know what kids are going to do.”

He was told the boys were picked up by authorities Saturday evening, and the bus was returned with no damage.

The Mended Reeds executive director, David Lambert, says the place the boys left is not a lockdown facility, it’s rare they have juveniles leave without permission, and he regrets this happened.

“They’re trying to work on the problem to try to prevent it from happening again,” Easterling said.

Easterling says fortunately, this week is their spring break, so they have plenty of time to clean up the damage. He says the bus that was stolen will be back on its regular route Monday morning. He also says the stolen laptop and iPad were recovered.

“I’m glad the damage wasn’t worse and no one was hurt,” he said.

WSAZ reached out to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department to see if they could provide an update on the status of the two juveniles. No one was available for comment.