You have to be a pretty sharp (albeit troubled) kid to know how to a) steal cars and b) drive them. Nine-year-old Semaj Booker has done both. Three times, according to his mother. She says he learned how to drive by playing video games. If only the story ended there.
On Sunday, Semaj stole a car from his neighborhood near Tacoma, Washington. (In each instance, the cars had been running while their owners were temporarily out of sight.) The fourth-grader wound up leading police on a high-speed chase. The cops wanted to put Semaj into juvenile detention, but were told he's too young. So they took the boy home.
The next morning, Semaj snuck out of his house and took a bus to the Seattle airport. He went to the Southwest ticket counter and gave a fake name. According to this mother, he told the ticket agent his last name is "Williams." The agent looked in her computer and said, "Frank Williams?" Semaj answered, "Yep," and off he went with the boarding pass with the name "Frank Williams."
He got through security with no issues, because children don't need photo id. Semaj hopped on a plane that stopped briefly in Phoenix before heading on to San Antonio. He tried to get on a third flight for Dallas where the boy still has family, but Southwest figured out something wasn't right and called airport police. (The airline told us it's investigating the incident.)
Semaj is now in a shelter in San Antonio until authorities figure out what to do with him. He's been charged with car theft and eluding police, but prosecutors may drop the case because he's so young.
Obviously, this kid is pretty smart. How else could he pull off something like this? Let's just hope he gets some help and is able to put his mind to good use someday.
As for the real Frank Williams ... there's no word on what happened to when he checked in for his flight. So Mr. Williams, if you or anyone who knows you is reading this, we hope you'll let us know what happened when you went to pick up your ticket.