A 36-year-old man from Tennessee was charged in Scott County District Court with robbing a Metro Mobility bus while the driver was taking a break in the shade at Sunpath Elementary School in Shakopee earlier this month, court documents said.

According to the charges, on June 14, police received a 911 call from a man yelling for help and stating his Metro Mobility bus had been stolen.

The victim told officers he was parked in the shade at the school for his hour-long break when a man later identified as Jorge Rolando Rivera-Corea knocked on the door of the bus and asked if he could have a ride. The victim told him the bus was not in service at this time, but Rivera-Corea pushed open the doors and entered the bus.

According to the victim’s testimony, Rivera-Corea then reached his right hand behind his back, implying he had a gun, and ordered the victim to leave. The victim got off the bus, and Rivera-Corea sat in the driver’s seat and put the bus in gear.

Rivera-Corea drove the bus around the parking lot a few times before leaving the elementary school. Meanwhile, a school custodian noticed the victim in distress. The custodian and the victim followed Rivera-Corea in a vehicle, providing updates to dispatch.

A Shakopee police officer then pursued Rivera-Corea for a short time on County Road 16 in Scott County, according to court documents. As the bus made a U-turn, Rivera-Corea allegedly passed by the officer’s fully-marked squad car, made eye contact with the officer, and smiled at her.

The Metro Mobility bus did not slow down or stop when emergency lights were activated, and the officer decided it was unsafe to continue to pursue the stolen bus, court documents said.

A handful of other law enforcement agencies also attempted to stop the bus as it made its way to New Prague, but it failed to stop, according to court documents. Eventually, the bus pulled into the Mayo Clinic parking lot in New Prague, where Rivera-Corea was taken into custody. There was no damage to the vehicle.

When questioned by investigators, Rivera-Corea told officers he found the bus somewhere in the street and said he just “stared” at the driver, who then got out of the bus on his own. He said he just wanted to “take it for a ride.” Rivera-Corea also told officers he knew he was being pursued by police, but said, “sometimes you just got to have fun.”

Rivera-Corea told officers he was using drugs, but allegedly said he stole the bus by his own choice. He added he was sorry and would not steal a bus again.

Rivera-Corea was charged with second-degree aggravated robbery, fleeing police in a motor vehicle and motor vehicle theft. The maximum sentence for his most severe charge is 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine, or both.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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