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GARY, IN – When Officer Simon Lillie pulled onto the property of the West Side Leadership Academy, he thought nothing about the van in front of him. Later, Lillie said, “I just thought someone short was driving the van.” The van circled the lot a couple of times and parked; it was a school employee who pointed out to the officer that the driver was a 14-year-old student of the school. Police say the boy stole the van — a church van, no less — because he didn’t want to walk the several blocks to school. And how did he get access to the van? According what the teen’s mother told authorities, he must’ve taken the van’s keys while attending choir practice at Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church earlier in the week.

The combination of these factors — church choir member, indications of sloth, theft of a church vehicle — causes a small bubble of wicked joy to form in my heart. But at the same time, I have to hand it to this kid. First off, what teen wants to come toolin’ up to school in a goddamned church van, of all things? Maybe he really, really, really did not want to walk those few blocks to school, but you’d have to pay me large sums of money before I’d risk getting seen driving around town in any vehicle marked with the words “Missionary Baptist Church” (plus, God would probably send down a strategically aimed lightning bolt before I even put it into drive, but that’s between me and Her). Second, he apparently was driving okay, as the cop right behind him didn’t even notice. According to Officer Lillie, the boy “didn’t say where he learned to drive. He was doing just fine. I was behind him but didn’t think anything of it.” And finally, guess what the kid did once he got the van parked? Go ahead, guess. Okay, you’re wrong. He put an anti-theft device on the steering wheel so no one (else?) could steal the van.

I’m not one for encouraging minors to engage in illegal activities. In fact, I’m not one to have anything whatsoever to do with minors, as I find them to generally be obnoxious little shits. But I’m going to admit to the tiniest smidgen of admiration for this one. Anti-theft device, indeed.

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