The Washington Post

Police: Florida 12-year-old accused in school bus thefts in trouble again. (It was a pickup truck this time.)

It was just a truck this time. (Sean Locke/iStockphoto)

Authorities believe a 12-year-old accused of stealing two (2!) school buses in Florida also stole a pickup truck earlier this month, according to news reports.

Michael Wade Propst faces several charges, including burglary and grand theft auto, Springfield police chief Philip Thorne told The Post on Tuesday.

“He’s crying out for help. It’s obvious as a parent that he’s crying out for help,” Thorne said. “He’s not willing to talk about whatever is hurting him inside. He’s just lashing out by stealing cars.”

Thorne put Michael’s tally at five vehicles that were allegedly stolen in the past few months, with a total of six attempts. That includes previous incidents involving his mother’s van, as well as his aunt’s SUV and both buses.

A Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputy found Michael driving a bus near a local Wal-Mart in June, according to the Jackson County Floridan. Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt called the incident a “valuable lesson in securing our buses.” Later this summer, the 12-year-old was stopped in a bus for a second time.

“They had a bus stopped with a juvenile driver,” Parker Chief of Police Chief Charles Sweatt told WMBB.

The News Herald reports that Michael damaged his mother’s car during the latest attempted theft. He fled the area, and was eventually located with a truck that was stolen from a neighbor. Thorne told a local TV station that Florida Department of Juvenile Justice officials told him Michael was on the move.

“I talked to DJJ for a few minutes and then I checked,” Thorne told WJHG. “Said ‘Not again.”

Sarah Larimer is a general assignment reporter for the Washington Post.



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Sarah Larimer · August 11, 2014