Locksmith explains how a 14-year-old was able to steal school bus

According to the locksmith, the way the teen stole the bus is pretty common.
A 14-year-old boy was arrested after allegedly stealing and joy-riding a middle school bus.
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 7:57 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A school district and a local locksmith explained how a 14-year-old boy was able to steal a charter school bus.

Many who have heard about the bus theft have wondered if the teenager used a spare key, hot-wired the vehicle or made a duplicate. But the answer to how it was stolen left the locksmith surprised.

“It’s pretty shocking,” said locksmith technician Matthew Ellis.

That was the reaction Ellis and many others had after seeing the video of the bus being taken for a joy ride.

“When I was 14, I think I was going from eighth grade to freshman year, and it wasn’t even in my thought process to steal a school bus,” Ellis said.

According to Metro Police, that’s exactly what one 14-year-old boy did. Metro Police said the teen stole a school bus from the Kipp College Prep school’s parking lot on Saturday afternoon.

Police said that the teen stole the bus, he crashed into a gas pump in West Nashville, nearly ran someone over and crashed into a car before speeding on to I-40 West.

Police deployed spike strips on the interstate and when the teen saw the spike strips, he tried to turn the bus around on the interstate. While he tried to turn around, he was then surrounded by Metro Police.

“School busses most of the time have a Bluebird keyway because that’s the engine and those don’t have transponders,” Ellis said.

Kipp College Prep said the teen used a key that didn’t belong to the bus to start it and drive away, it’s something Ellis says is pretty common.

“There’s not very many key options they have, so you definitely could start it with just an old-school metal that is similar to whatever keyway that bluebird took,” Ellis said.

So, to keep this from happening again, Ellis suggests some districts make a change.

“Some sort of camlock or install just a little switch that goes over the door so it’s harder for people to open it. That would be a little more secure at least.”

Kipp College Prep leaders said they’re now working closely with Metro Police in the ongoing investigating.