Police in Delaware have arrested a 14-year-old boy accused of stealing a car and leading a state trooper on a chase.
Delaware State Police Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said a trooper was patrolling a Wawa on the 2000 block of Philadelphia Pike in Claymont when five juveniles wandered into the parking lot around 6 a.m. Friday. The trooper was staking out the Wawa due to an increase in vehicle thefts in the New Castle area, the majority of which have happened at gas stations while vehicles were left unattended.
When the trooper tried to engage the minors, two of them ran to the back of the Wawa, at which point the trooper chased them and saw the unidentified 14-year-old run into a 2017 BMW X3, Fournier said. The teen drove off, initiating a chase that ended with his arrest on Maple School Lane.
Investigators determined the boy had stolen the BMW earlier that morning from a home on Lovering Avenue in Wilmington. Three other minors who were in the car were initially detained before being released to their guardians without being charged, Fournier said.
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The 14-year-old driver was charged with felony theft of a motor vehicle and misdemeanor resisting arrest. He was jailed at the New Castle County Detention Center on $1,500 secured bond.
The other teen who ran off upon first seeing the trooper was spotted walking along Philadelphia Pike and Marsh Road. The boy, also 14, ran into the woods before being arrested, Fournier said. He was charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest and released on $750 unsecured bond.
State police warned drivers that the recent surge in car thefts has happened most often at gas stations when vehicles have been left unattended, idling, or unlocked with the keys inside, commonly as drivers go inside the gas station store to make a purchase.