11-Year-Old Girl Wearing Medical Mask Accused of Stealing Occupied Car During Lockdown in Boston

Police said an 11-year-old girl wearing a medical face mask stole an occupied car in Boston, Massachusetts, amid a lockdown due to the coronavirus.

The young suspect was apprehended shortly after the theft took place, but police were unable to charge her due to her age, the Boston Police Department said in a news release on Wednesday.

Officers had responded to a report of a larceny in progress and arrived at Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester at around 8.30 p.m. on April 22.

The victim told the officers that her car had been stolen. She said she had left the vehicle running with her son and nephew inside. "Officers spoke to one of the male victims who stated an unknown black female wearing a blue medical face mask approached the vehicle and demanded the victim roll down the window," police said.

"The victim stated when he complied, the female ordered the two male victims out of the vehicle, entered the driver's seat and drove off."

Other officers in the area soon located the stolen car with the suspect inside, down the street from where it had been left by its owner. She was taken into custody and the vehicle returned to its owner.

"Further investigation revealed the female suspect to be 11 years old and due to her age, officers were unable to charge the suspect with a crime," police added. She was released to the care of the Department of Children and Families.

Boston Police urged drivers not to leave their cars running while unattended. "As a reminder, drivers should never under any circumstances leave their motor vehicle running while unattended," they said. "Not only is this a citable offense in the City of Boston, the driver is left vulnerable to a possible vehicle theft."

A protective mask adorns a statue near the Boston Marathon starting line on April 20, 2020 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday announced that he was extending the state's stay-at-home advisory, due to expire on May 4, for another two weeks. Nonessential businesses will also have to remain shuttered and gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited until May 18.

The state had more than 60,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 3,405 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.