Student suspected of stealing DPS teacher's car from parking lot

Student suspected of stealing DPS teacher's car from parking lot

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DETROIT (WJBK) - Stephanie Radcliffe loves teaching. She retired from Detroit Public Schools and still substitutes often, but she's having second thoughts after what happened to her on Wednesday at Osbourne High School.

"I'm very angry. I'm upset," she says.

Radcliffe claims she came back from the bathroom and looked in her bag for a pen only to realize her car keys were gone, and it didn't take long to discover so was her rust-colored 2008 PT Cruiser.

"Naturally, I'm thinking I parked somewhere else. You always think you're crazy. And so I looked - my car is gone. I tell the police officers who were there at the school at the time and I think they thought I was playing because I was hysterical," Radcliffe says.

It was the final days of school. Barbecue and celebrating were going on outside but some students who still attend the other two schools that are consolidated inside the Detroit Public School building were still inside, and obviously not where they were supposed to be.

"First thing? Cameras. We got cameras here. This is DPS," says Radcliffe.

The school has plenty of cameras inside and out but here's the problem - they weren't working. Apparently they went out when the school lost power last week and were rebooted 15 minutes after the alleged crime took place.

"I was in a legitimate teacher's parking lot, so they had to go down a driveway to get out of the parking lot. So, whoever these kids are who were in my car, when they took the keys they had to find out what car went to the key. So, they were going through the parking lot [beeping the key fob]. Security officers said they heard that but they didn't think anything of it," says Radcliffe.

The student then drove past the crowds of people and out the gate.

But Radcliffe says thanks to social media we're told police with Detroit Public Schools knew who they were looking for.

When the 18 year-old student came to pick up his report card he was taken into custody. Sources say it's believed the same student stole another teacher's purse earlier that day.

"You wouldn't think a student would have the nerve and the gall," says Radcliffe.

DPS hasn't returned our calls but this long-time educator says a student turned in her keys and another helped track down her stolen car that had her name painted on the side. It was parked between some abandoned houses a few blocks away.

Radcliffe is still waiting for it to be returned and plans to pursue charges.

"I'm just hoping that my car is not damaged and is in some kind of workable condition," she adds.
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