Gregory John Jennrich, 31, told investigators he works as a mechanic with the transportation company, and while on his way to work Wednesday evening got worried he might be late – so took an empty, idling bus he saw nearby, the charges against him say.
According to the criminal complaint, a Metro Transit driver on break popped into a gas station near Robert Street and Marie Avenue in St. Paul, leaving the bus outside with the hydraulic brakes on. When she came out of the store, the bus was gone.
Metro Transit police began tracking the vehicle as it traveled on I-94 toward Bloomington, eventually going toward a Metro Transit South Garage maintenance facility (about 10 miles from the gas station), the charges say.
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Officers activated their lights and sirens and the bus pulled over. The driver, identified as Jennrich, was taken into custody, and commented he took the bus because he was late for work, according to the complaint.
In an interview later, he told officers he was on his way to work and stopped at the gas station, the complaint says.
How Padilla, spokesperson for Metro Transit, told BringMeTheNews Jennrich drove his car to the gas station, but then locked his keys in the vehicle.
He became concerned he was going to be late, saw the bus empty and parked outside and took it, the complaint says.
Jennrich said he thinks he works at the South Garage, but wasn't totally sure, according to the charges. Metro Transit confirmed with police Jennrich did not have permission to drive the bus.
He's charged with one felony count of theft of a motor vehicle, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.