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Stupid Case File for January 22, 2007

Escape ... via train

Thanks to SCF Reader Keith R. for the tip on this story!
Courtesy of

NELSONVILLE, Ohio – Two boys walked out of an unlocked juvenile
detention home and took an early-morning joy ride on a train – until
authorities tracked them down.

The boys managed to start up the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
locomotive early Tuesday after breaking through a side door into the
building that houses the engine, said Sgt. Edward Kurtz of the
Nelsonville police.

No cars were attached to the engine, which usually hauls tourists.

The tracks go by the windows of the city police station, and Hocking
College police also noticed the engine rolling down the tracks.

“That’s very unusual. The train runs only on weekends,” Kurtz said.

He said the boys rode about 12 miles to Logan, blowing the train whistle
and waking residents. They also stopped by a grocery store off U.S. 23,
where Athens County sheriff’s deputies took them into custody.

Matthew Burks, 16, of Proctorville, and Zachary Walden, 13, of
Portsmouth, were charged with juvenile counts of burglary, theft and
escape, police said.

Burks, who had some knowledge of trains, was driving the engine, Kurtz said.

“He got it started and away they went,” he said.

The boys had walked away late Monday from Hocking Valley Community
Residential Center in Nelsonville, where youths stay on the honor system
instead of going to a state detention center for juvenile felony
convictions, said Valerie Roth, assistant director.

Nelsonville is 60 miles southeast of Columbus.

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