MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two 15-year-old boys stole a large box truck in Minneapolis that was left running and unoccupied Friday morning.

According to Minneapolis Police, two boys stole a vehicle, just smaller that the size of a semi-truck, at about 10:20 a.m. near the area of Hennepin County Medical Center.

Police spokesperson John Elder said the boys drove recklessly and at high speeds through all five Minneapolis precincts, intentionally striking other cars and doing property damage. Police say the boys did not have any formal training to operate such a vehicle.

“We are beyond lucky that this vehicle was not involved in contact with any other occupied vehicles,” Elder said. “Had this vehicle, at the rate of speed it was driving at times, collided with other cars that were occupied, I have no doubt we would have had great bodily harm or death.”

The two boys were eventually spotted by the Minneapolis Police Department near the intersection of 47th and Nicollet in south Minneapolis. When officers tried to stop the car, the boys accelerated and attempted to turn before rolling the truck on its side.

Elder says the incident happened near a middle school and playground, and no one was injured. The two boys were removed from vehicle and booked into Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of auto theft, damage to property, and hit-and-run.

Elder emphasized the uptick in auto thefts this year — in the first 20 days of the year Minneapolis Police saw on average 13 auto thefts per day. At this point in time, Elder says that they’ve seen an increase to 17 auto thefts per day, and warns the public to not leave vehicles running with keys in them.

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