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13-year-old in custody after thefts, bus joyrides
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Authorities say a 13-year-old Flowery Branch boy went on a crime spree this week, taking late-night joy rides in two school buses and a sport utility vehicle before he was caught Tuesday.

The boy, who was described as short for his age, scaled a fence at the Hall County Schools’ bus shop on Atlanta Highway at about 9 p.m. Monday and found the keys to a school bus, which he rode around the parking lot for a while, Hall County Sheriff’s Col. Jeff Strickland said. The boy then took another bus for a spin in the lot before leaving the lot at about 10:30 p.m.

The incident was recorded on surveillance video.

Later that night, the boy burglarized a home on Wakefield Drive, cutting a screen on a garage window, officials said. He took a cell phone and keys to a Chevrolet Trailblazer, which he took out for a ride, returning it with mud on the tires.

The next day at about 2 p.m., the boy allegedly broke into a home on Daffodil Drive in Flowery Branch by crawling through a window, taking a video game system, some clothing and loose change.

The crime spree came to an end when the homeowner spotted a suspicious person in the area and deputies responded, finding and arresting the boy. Authorities later found the keys to the school buses stashed in an abandoned house near the boy’s home.

The boy, whose name is not being released by authorities because of his age, was charged with three counts of theft by taking motor vehicle, two counts of burglary and transaction card theft.

He is being held in the Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center.

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