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Vandalism causes $30,000 damage to buses

Staff writer

Three buses parked at the Centre schools bus barn were vandalized, causing nearly $30,000 in damages, sometime between 4 p.m. Sept. 6 and 6:36 p.m. Sept. 9, according to the sheriff’s report.

The damage was discovered Sept. 10 and reported to law enforcement. Superintendent Susan Beeson said catalytic converters were cut out of two of the buses’ exhaust systems, and another bus was damaged. One bus was new and had not been put into service.

The offense resulted in repair bills amounting to $26,113 as of Friday.

The suspect left a flashlight at the site, indicating the event happened at night. Sheriff Robert Craft said his department is tracking down leads but hasn’t received any so far. He is checking with scrap dealers in the area.

“I appreciate that this has come to our attention, and now we are increasing our security,” Beeson said. “We need increased awareness that individuals in this area have this mindset or have a deep need for money.”

She speculated that someone might have wanted the platinum in the catalytic converters to sell.

“We have increased security and awareness around the bus barn with more cameras and more lighting,” Beeson said. “We want individuals to know that we are fully able to identify individuals who would vandalize our property, and we would seek prosecution.”

The district is using a spare bus, the activity bus, and another bus that was sold but not yet received by the buyer to fill transportation needs. The buyer is allowing the district to use the bus until the damaged one is repaired. Suburbans owned by the district also are used when the activity bus is needed.

Beeson expected two buses to be repaired this week.

Last modified Sept. 26, 2019

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