12-year-old boy accused of stealing church bus for 7-mile ride

Surveillance video at the church shows the bus that was stolen by a 12-year-old boy.Screenshot/WGNTV

A 12-year-old boy from the U.S. state of Illinois is facing charges of stealing a church bus and going for a seven-mile ride before he was stopped by the police.

The theft occurred at the Valley Baptist Church in Oswego village. Surveillance video showed the boy riding his bike to where the buses were parked at around 5:30 p.m. After a few minutes, the video showed the bus heading towards the exit, according to WGNTV.

The boy drove the bus until Naperville where he was stopped by the police.

Valley Baptist Church Pastor David Hemphill said he believed the boy was looking for candy in the bus when he found the key instead and decided to take the vehicle for a ride.

The Kendall County Sheriff's Office called Hamphill to inform him that they got the bus and the boy.

"They said, 'A 12-year-old has taken one of your vehicles and we have it. No one has been hurt. The young person is OK. We just need someone to come pick up the vehicle,'" the pastor said.

The boy was released to his parents.

"His father called me and was remorseful and apologised and said he would take care of any of the costs that were involved. I was very appreciative of that. He seemed like a very concerned dad and wanted to help his child," the pastor said.

The boy was charged as a minor with theft of a motor vehicle, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The buses are used by the church in the Oswego, Montgomery and Aurora areas to pick up children and adults who do not have transportation and bring them to the church.

It was in 1970 when the Valley Baptist Church started. Hemphill became its pastor in 2008.

In the last four decades, the church has brought well-known preachers to its pulpit including Dr. Lee Roberston, Dr. Mark Cambron, Dr. John Goetsch, Evangelist Dan Knickerbocker, Dr. J.R. Faulkner, Dr. Clarence Doyle, Evangelist Bobby Brown, Dr. Mel Rutter, Dr. Jim Delashmit, Dr. Wendell Evans, and Dr. Paul Levine, according to its website.