A teenager was killed in Southeast Washington last night when his moped was struck by a stolen van apparently driven by a juvenile, D.C. police said. Three other people have been killed in the city in the past 13 months by stolen cars allegedly driven by underage drivers.

Last night's incident, in the 4400 block of G Street SE, was not far from where two other fatalities have occurred since June 2003. The deaths have highlighted what police describe as a major problem in the city and in some suburbs.

In last night's crash, police took one juvenile into custody. His age was not immediately available, but investigators said he may have been no more than 12 and possibly was a passenger. Police said officers were searching for other youths who might have been in the van. The collision occurred about 5:30 p.m. after officers began following a stolen minivan that was being driven recklessly, police said.

After the crash, the moped was lodged beneath the van. The van apparently caught fire and its occupants, possibly as many as four, fled.

The male teenager who was killed was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was withheld until his relatives could be notified, but police said he lived in Southeast.

Police said the minivan had been reported stolen Thursday from Summit Court NE.

Yesterday's crash took place less than a half-mile from Texas Avenue and C Street SE, where a speeding stolen car ran a red light last July 14 and crashed into a vehicle driven by a 60-year-old woman.

A 13-year-old was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and car theft in that incident.

On June 15, a month before the Texas Avenue crash, a 15-year-old was killed when he was struck by a speeding car allegedly stolen by a 16-year-old girl.

That incident occurred on 46th Street SE, less than a half-mile from the site of the July crash and only a few blocks from the scene of last night's incident.

That area has acquired a reputation as being the neighborhood of choice for youthful joy riders.

In the most recent previous death involving a stolen car, an activist for Haitian causes was fatally injured June 18 when what police said was a stolen Jeep with a 14-year-old at the wheel smashed into his car at 14th Street and Florida Avenue NW.