Friday, June 19, 2009

Three teens arrested in torching of Totino-Grace school buses

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The teens, none of them Totino-Grace students, were motivated by an "adrenaline rush,'' Fridley police say.

Three teenagers have been arrested in the torching of two school buses this week at a private Catholic high school in Fridley, leaving more than $100,000 in damage.

Their motive: an "adrenaline rush," according to Fridley police.

A 13-year-old boy from Fridley, a 17-year-old boy from Brooklyn Park, and 18-year-old from Champlin were arrested in the overnight arson of two buses at Totino-Grace High School. Authorities say the three started at least one bus on fire at about 2 a.m. Wednesday. One was completely destroyed, and another is seriously damaged.

The 18-year-old remains in the Anoka County jail. The 13-year-old was released to his father while the 17-year-old was taken to the Lino Lakes Juvenile Detention Facility.

All three were arrested for suspicion of second-degree arson and first-degree criminal damage to property. The case has been submitted to the Anoka County Attorney's Office for consideration of formal charges against the 18-year-old, and are expected as soon as 2 p.m. today.

None of the three teenagers has ever been a student at Totino-Grace, and the school did not appear to be a target, said Lt. Mike Monsrud of the Fridley Police Department.

A tip to the Arson Tip Line led investigators to one of the teenagers, who quickly led investigators to the other two. All three admitted their involvement, police said. Monsrud said the three were caught on the school's surveillance camera, but were not easily identifiable through the images.

Monsrud said the buses happened to be parked when the teenagers passed by and decided to destroy them. In interviews with police, the 18-year-old alluded to the group's only motive.

"The only thing he would really say is that he gets an adrenaline rush out of creating mayhem," Monsrud said. "They weren't targeted for any reason at all; it was just an opportunity they saw when they walked by." Star Tribune


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