LOS ANGELES – The Latest on the theft of Los Angeles police vehicles by teenage police cadets (all times local):
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck says teenage police cadets stole three patrol cars and led officers on wild chases through the city.
Beck said Thursday that the department is trying to determine whether the trio impersonated officers. Wednesday night's escapade ended with two cars crashing after pursuits. A third car also was recovered.
He says the teens — ages 15 to 17 — also stole stun guns and radios and one was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Cadets are teenage volunteers who work in police stations and go through an academy to learn about the criminal justice system.
Beck says the three cadets used their inside knowledge to sign out the vehicles in the name of a vacationing sergeant. He says one patrol car may have been missing for nearly three weeks.
Beck says he's ordered a full review of the cadet program and the department's procedures for managing its cars and equipment.
Authorities say suspects stole two Los Angeles police cruisers and led officers on wild pursuits that ended when both vehicles crashed.
Officer Irma Mota says it's unclear when or how the two police cars were taken, but officers spotted the vehicles about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday south of downtown.
Two pursuits began, and one of the police cars crashed and the driver was taken into custody.
The second chase ended with a crash about four miles away and police arrested two more suspects.
Police say there were no weapons in the cars.