Juvenile Justice

Boy, 9, boards Las Vegas flight without ticket, launching airport security probe

Updated: Because of his age, a 9-year-old boy who boarded a Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Las Vegas without a ticket last Thursday won’t face criminal charges.

However, an investigation is underway to determine if airport security issues need to be addressed, according to Reuters and the Star Tribune. He passed through three security checkpoints without either a boarding pass or identification.

The unidentified boy’s lack of a boarding pass was not discovered until the flight was in the air. He caught the attention of flight attendants because he wasn’t listed as an unattended minor and didn’t seem to be with an adult.

He also reportedly ate lunch at the airport a day earlier, taking a case from the baggage claim area to a restaurant, then leaving it and the unpaid check there while he made his exit under the guise of using the restroom.

The unidentified child took light rail to the airport. He has also taken the train to a suburban water park and blended in with a large family to get in for free, according to the director of Hennepin County’s Human Services and Public Health Department.

He was met when the plane arrived in Las Vegas by police there and taken into protective custody. As of Monday, he was still there awaiting a Tuesday court hearing, CNN recounts.

As the week progressed, further details emerged. The boy’s father, who participated in a news conference on Wednesday but did not identify himself, confirmed reports that his son had stolen a 30-foot refrigerated delivery truck from a Minneapolis business only a few days prior to the flight to Las Vegas. Security footage showed the vehicle being driven around the parking lot, then hitting a post before taking off. A police chase ensued and ended nearly 10 miles away, when the truck struck an Edina, Minn., police cruiser, KSTC reports.

As with the flight to Las Vegas, the boy is too young to be criminally charged. A spokesman for the airport said the child had intended to meet an online friend in Las Vegas.

His father said the boy left home last week stating that he was going to take out the trash, according to KSTC and WCCO. When he didn’t return, his family initially assumed he was at a friend’s house, and his mother took a day off to look for him.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Boy, 9, stole truck, hit cop car two days before flight to Las Vegas without ticket, police say”

WCCO: “Father of Stowaway Boy: ‘He’s Misunderstood, But Very Intelligent’”

Updated on Oct. 10 to include and accord with subsequent news coverage.

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