In a bizarre recent incident, a 12-year-old boy was arrested by Ann Arbor police after allegedly stealing a construction forklift, leading authorities on a chase and causing damage to several vehicles.
The unusual chain of events began when officers responded to a call at Forsythe Middle School around 6:45 p.m. on November 25, reporting the theft of a Construction Genie GTH-636 Telehandler forklift.
The forklift, capable of lifting heavy loads up to 35,000 pounds, was reportedly left unlocked with a key hidden inside the cab, although it is not clear how the boy found the keys.
Shortly after the report, police spotted the forklift being driven south on Brooks Street near Pearl Street.
The boy behind the wheel then led officers on a slow-speed chase, reaching speeds of 15 to 20 mph, with emergency lights and sirens activated.
During the pursuit, the juvenile maneuvered the stolen forklift through the Georgetown Boulevard Neighborhood, colliding with approximately 10 parked cars along the way.
Concerns for public safety led Ann Arbor police to abandon the pursuit around 7:20 p.m. as the boy continued north on Nixon Road across the M-14 Bridge.
Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies then took up the pursuit, ultimately leading to the apprehension of the young driver.
The forklift was brought to a halt near M-14 and Gotfredson Road at around 8 p.m., and the boy was taken into custody without incident.
Despite the reckless nature of the incident, no injuries were reported.
“This was a very dangerous situation that could’ve easily ended with serious injuries,” stated Ann Arbor police in a social media release. “The incident remains an active and ongoing criminal investigation.”
Andrew Cluley, a spokesman for Ann Arbor Public Schools, said the forklift was being used for renovating a school building that is expected to be ready next spring.
He noted that the forklift is not property of the school district.
The boy was later lodged at a juvenile detention center, where legal proceedings will determine the consequences for his actions.
As investigations continue, the authorities are working to understand the motive behind the unusual theft and subsequent joyride.