Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Thursday afternoon that three cadets, aged 15, 16 and 17, were arrested Wednesday after stealing three LAPD patrol cars. Beck said the three teens may have been impersonating police officers following the theft.

Two stolen cars spotted in Central Los Angeles

The LAPD noticed that two of their patrol cars were missing from the lot on Wednesday night. However, both cars were spotted, driving next to each other, in a Central Los Angeles street. A Police chase ensued through Central and South Los Angeles, ending with both vehicles colliding with other cars. CBS News reports that in their investigations, officials tracked down a third missing LAPD patrol car, which was found parked close to the 77th Street police station.

Beck said all three teenage cadets are now facing charges for stealing the LAPD patrol cars, as well as two radios, a bulletproof vest and two LAPD tasers.

LAPD to review cadet program and inventory system for cars

As reported by the LA Times, the LAPD is proud of its cadet program, which is designed to help the cadets develop skills and to volunteer at events in the city, such as the L.A. Marathon and Dodgers games. However, Beck said Thursday that they would be launching a review of the police cadet program, along with the inventory system for the department’s 1,800 patrol cars.

According to Beck, more than 2,300 active cadets are involved in various roles in the department.

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He said since he has been chief, over 8,000 cadets have gone through the program, mostly from what he termed “difficult” neighborhoods. He went on to say the LAPD is proud of their cadets and that he doesn’t want the actions of three cadets in question to negatively reflect on the other cadets.

According to Beck all three of the cadets had knowledge of the accounting system for the patrol cars, which allowed them to manipulate it, masking the disappearance of the vehicles for some time. They reportedly logged in using a sergeant’s details, who they know was on vacation at the time. Beck went on to ask residents of South and Central Los Angeles to come forward if they came across very young male and female police partners to aid in their investigation.

Beck added that they will not release the identities of the three cadets for legal reasons. However as reported by the LA Times, three LAPD sources told them one of the cadets in question was highly regarded by the department and they used his photo on recruitment materials to attract other youngsters to the program. The source, who spoke anonymously, continued by saying that promotional material has since been taken down.