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Charges: Young Utah teens carjack school custodian, wreck car while fleeing

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Mar 14th, 2019 @ 2:17pm



SALT LAKE CITY — Two boys, ages 14 and 15, have been charged with carjacking the head custodian of a local elementary school, and then crashing into another vehicle while trying to get away.

On Feb. 16, the custodian for Meadowlark Elementary School, 497 N. Morton Drive (1890 West), went to the school after hours to see if snow needed to be shoveled. He was about to drive home when he "heard some yelling and stopped to see what was going on," according to charging documents filed in 3rd District Juvenile Court.

That's when a 15-year-old boy approached him, "pulled out a gun and told him to get out of the vehicle and give him his wallet," the charges state. Two boys then drove off in the custodian's 2008 Lexus IS 250.

The teens left traces that police were able to follow. One boy dropped his cellphone where the car was stolen, the charges state. A nearby surveillance camera also captured the holdup.

About an hour later, a hit-and-run crash was reported at 1208 W. 1200 North.

"The suspect vehicle in this hit-and-run was a black Lexus sedan. The front license plate of the suspect vehicle fell off during the crash," according to a search warrant affidavit filed in 3rd District Court.

The plate matched the stolen Lexus, police said.

The car was found abandoned a short time later in a field near 1500 North and 1500 West, and an officer spotted the driver running away. The 15-year-old ran through the Rose Park Golf Course, jumped a fence and crossed the Jordan River before police lost track of him, the warrant states. His 14-year-old passenger, however, was arrested.

At the Salt Lake City Police Department, the teen was overheard telling his mother, "All I know is that we did some Grand Theft Auto (stuff)." He then explained that after the hit-and-run, he criticized his friend's driving skills, telling him, "You can't drive for (expletive). We are gonna get caught with you driving," according to charging documents.

The 14-year-old said he wanted to ditch the car but the 15-year-old wanted to strip it, the charges state.

After turning himself in, the older teen told police that after calling out to the custodian, "he checked the vehicle first to make sure there were no kids in it," then pulled out a BB gun and told the man to get out, the charges state.

The boy also told investigators that "he was drunk and it was really hard to drive" and he hit another car after taking a corner too fast, according to the charges. After swimming across the Jordan River, the teenager said he laid face down on the golf course for several hours until police left.

Both boys are charged in juvenile court with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and leaving the scene of an accident, a class B misdemeanor.

Pat Reavy

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