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Father of 9-year-old stowaway had asked for help with son

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The father of the 9-year-old boy who somehow snuck through security at Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport and hopped on a Delta flight to Las Vegas made a tearful plea for help at a news conference Wednesday.

The man, who did not want to be identified or have his face shown, told reporters he's been asking for help handling his son's out-of-control behavior.

Two days before the airport scheme last Thursday, the 9-year-old stole a commercial truck from a Minneapolis business and took a 9-mile joyride, damaging ten other vehicles along his path and eventually crashing into a police squad car.

His father said his son didn't understand the severity of what he had done.

"He told police he thought he was playing Grand Theft Auto," the father said.

The father says the boy doesn't own the video game but likely played it at a friend's house.

Family spokesperson V.J. Smith with MAD DADS says Hennepin County has stepped up to help the boy's parents.

The 9-year-old remains in Las Vegas, where the case was heard by a judge Tuesday.

"He's not a terrorist. He's a 9-year-old child," the father said.

The boy is currently in protective custody and is expected to return to Minnesota on Friday, according to Smith.

Delta Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration continue to investigate how the boy made it through multiple checkpoints unchaperoned and without a boarding pass.

The boy's father also wants answers.

"How would you let a 9-year-old child go through security check without stopping him and questioning him? How can that be?" he said.

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