A 25-year-old man who drove a tram out of a depot in Katowice, southern Poland on Friday night and – picking up passengers along the way – made it to neighbouring city Chorzów, around 8 km (5 miles) away.
He was arrested on Sunday and will be detained and remain in custody for three months awaiting trial. He explained to police that he was the son of a tram driver and wanted to emulate his father.
A spokesperson of the Chorzów police department told the Polish Press Agency (PAP), the man was charged with two crimes: bringing about the imminent danger of a catastrophe and taking a vehicle of significant value for short use. He could face up to eight years in prison.
The tram is valued at approximately PLN 7m (EUR 1.5m). “Police officers from the criminal division will explain how the man came into possession of the access card to start the tram,” the police spokesperson said.
He added that “during the journey, another tram driver noticed that the tram was taking an unusual route and notified the tram dispatcher. When the tram reached Chorzów's Market Square, the tram was immobilised by depot staff.”
The detained 25-year-old was sober, did not flee or resist arrest. Police officers pointed out that although the man did not have a licence to drive a tram, his knowledge was good enough to operate the vehicle.
The tram was accessible because it had been undergoing maintenance work during the night. No one was hurt and the tram was returned undamaged to the depot.