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Ohio boys take joy ride on a train

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on January 16.)

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 morning after breaking through a side door into the building that houses the engine, said Sgt. Edward Kurtz of 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 about 60 miles southeast of Columbus.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

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