A 28-year-old man was arrested Thursday afternoon within about five minutes of allegedly stealing a City of Billings MET Transit bus with two passengers on board.
The Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office pulled over MET bus No. 1803 in the Heights near MetraPark at about 12:22 p.m., after it was reported stolen at about 12:18 p.m., according to Sgt. Scott Conrad of the Billings Police Department.
The bus was pulled over about 2 miles from where it had been parked when it was stolen.
The actual bus driver had stepped off for a quick break when the man got on and drove away from the downtown bus station at North 25th Street.
The bus was pulled over at Bench Boulevard and Airport Road, near the entrance to the upper MetraPark parking lot. Sheriff's office vehicles surrounded the bus.
The suspect will likely face multiple charges including felony theft, unlawful restraint and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Conrad.
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Both passengers on the bus were women. One passenger, Kellyn Nelson, said the man got on the bus and said he was the new bus driver.
The electric destination sign on the bus said its next stop was Grand Avenue. Nelson said the bus quickly took a wrong turn and she realized the bus had been "hijacked."
"I was a little scared," Nelson said. "I didn't know what he was capable of."
Police interviewed both Nelson and the other woman on the bus. Neither passenger was injured, according to police.
"I'm just trying to get to work," Nelson said afterward as police continued to search the bus and interview those involved.