Call him the short arm of the law.

Police in Dillon, a small South Carolina town near the North Carolina border, say a 13-year-old with an interest in law enforcement twice stole a police cruiser and took it out to do some patrolling.

The boy's mother saw him bring the car home both times but didn't see anything wrong with the joyrides, Police Sgt. Jason Turner said.

The boy, who was charged with larceny and second-degree burglary, was not identified because of his age. He remained in Department of Juvenile Justice custody Wednesday.

His mother, Patricia Gillespie, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was released on $5,000 bond. A phone listing for her could not be found.

Turner said residents called police Sunday to say they'd seen the boy driving a police car. He said the boy also took the cruiser the previous Sunday and drove it around before returning it to the station. No one noticed it was missing.

The boy apparently watched someone enter a code to get into the department, then used it to get in and take the keys to the cruiser, Turner said.