Teen tram thief may yet work as tram driver

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Yarra Trams yesterday said it would still consider hiring a 15-year old who allegedly stole two trams over the weekend — once he's old enough.
image: Adam Carr of Wikipedia

A 15-year-old boy who allegedly stole a Melbourne, Australia tram and drove for 40 minutes picking up and setting down passengers, may yet be allowed to work as a tram driver, despite his nine charges related to the incident.

"We have a very good recruiting policy and anybody who passes the muster for our recruiting policy we'd be glad to offer a job to, provided he's old enough to hold a driver's license," Yarra Trams Deputy Chief Executive, Dennis Cliche, told Australian Associated Press on Monday.

Detective Senior Constable Barry Hills of Victoria Police, said of the boy, "He's a nice lad, he's a good lad. I think his obsession just got the better of him."

Described as wearing a jacket similar to official Yarra Trams uniforms, the boy was caught on Sunday night by police in east suburban Kew, 15km from where the tram was stolen, when electricity was shut off to the route.

He is also accused of stealing a tram on Friday night, from South Melbourne depot. It is said that he drove it twice between the depot and Port Melbourne.

The lad was thought to have picked up the keys from Box Hill depot three weeks ago, said Detective Senior Constable Hills.

"There are safety systems built in that he would have had to study and know how to drive this tram without engaging the safety systems, which are designed to shut the tram down," said Mr Cliche.

"So ... this is someone who's spent a lot of time and a lot of effort to go about this."

"When somebody takes one of our vehicles unauthorised it's of grave concern to us and we are conducting a full investigation - whether he's a 'trammie' or an individual who cares for trams, it makes no difference whatsoever," he said.

A full report on all depots, which would also look at the potential impact of terrorism, was due for release in three weeks.

Police say the boy, of Sunshine in Melbourne, has been charged with nine offences, including two counts each of theft of trams and conduct endangering life. The boy, whose name was not given, was released on bail to appear in the Melbourne Children's Court in June.


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